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Very unusual, very stylish update to the wuxia genre
It's rare when somebody tries to radically change an established genre, especially in the HK film industry, but here is one to ponder over. All the elements of a standard wuxia film are here but the delivery is something different.
Set in some sort of time warp around the 1930's, we see vintage autos, trains and other things that would not be out of line for that era. However the main characters are all dressed in long trench coats (this is interestingly a few years before "The Matrix") and they are armed with samurai swords. The characters have no implied contact with anyone but the other main characters. The time is the end of winter so we have numerous scenes set in the snow. The plot is very simple so I won't repeat it here but it's very typical of other wuxia films.
What makes this film stand out is the exceptional photography and interesting music track. Whatever the problems with the direction and story they are well compensated by the cinematography. The action is basically "blur-fu" so martial arts fans might be disappointed but in the context of the film it works. Believe me I hate "blur-fu" in normal action films but here it complements the atmosphere the director created.
Overall, some might find the film pretentious as I did but it's worth a try.
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