Uncle Tak, the old martial-arts master and medicine in normal life has severe problems with his former student Jonny, who wants nothing more than to kill his old master to show everyone who... See full summary »
After failing to save his wife from 'The Doctor', Kit Li is working as a bodyguard and secret stunt double for the cowardly martial arts film star Frankie Lane. Frankie attends an ... See full summary »
A corrupt businessman commits a murder and the only witness is the girlfriend of another businessman with close connections to the Chinese government, so a bodyguard from Beijing is ... See full summary »
Jet Li weasels out of the north Shaolin temple to assassinate a despotic ruler at the ruler's extravagant public birthday celebration. Two other men from the south Shaolin temple also set ... See full summary »
The Tang emperor is betrayed by one of his generals, who installs himself as emperor in the East Capital. The son of one of his slave workers escapes to the Shaolin Temple, learns kung fu, ... See full summary »
It's a heroic tale of three blood brothers and their struggle in the midst of war and political upheaval. It is based on "The Assassination of Ma," a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) story about ... See full summary »
Thomas Weissman, who wrote a supposedly major text on Asian cinema (which unfortunately probably blocked publication of better texts for some time) pee-ed off a lot of fans of Hong Kong cinema. One of the reasons is that he knows dam' well the difference between a good movie and a good "genre" film, but, instead of developing this difference critically, he prefers to smudge it, and thus frequently leaves readers with misconceptions.
Weissman's review of this film promised a real avant-garde transgression of time and space, of pulp and serious narrative. I'm afraid that's not what's happening here.
For one thing, we get no closer to any of this characters than we do in any other Hong Kong genre film. That's important; to make real transgressions of time, space, genre, etc., we need to see what's going on from a particular point of view. (If one doesn't care for "The Singing Detective" - and I don't - then refer to "Slaughterhouse Five".) Since this is really an "action-comedy". it can't do that. Instead, it scrambles its plot around from several different points of view; but the heart of the narrative remains action, not 'perspective'.
Well, is it a good action comedy? yeah, I enjoyed it, I'll probably watch it again. IS it the super-duper-transgressive New-wave make or break film that Weissman and a few others have touted it as? Nope. For that see Wong Kar Wai's "Ashes of Time".
But not every film has to be really really serious or 'great'. This is a fun film, with some weird displacements of time and space, just to make it interesting. Enjoy it as such.
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