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Lord Conquer is a great and mighty warlord who wants to take over the world. To do so, he must defeat another warrior named Sword Saint; but the battle is prophesized to take place in ten years. Lord Conquer's servant, Mud Buddah, says that he can make himself invincible by then if he can make two certain children into his disciples. Those children are Whispering Wind and Striding Cloud. But Lord Conquer discovers that if Wind and Cloud were to unite against him, they could overthrow him. He tries to avoid this by marrying his daughter Charity to Wind. Cloud intervines and Lord Conquer accidentally kills Charity. Meanwhile, the time has come for Lord Conquer's duel with Sword Saint. He shows his true intentions by turning against Cloud and Wind. Now it's a free-for-all battle between Lord Conquer, Sword Saint, Cloud, and Wind. And only one will emerge the victor! Written by
Stormriders was a movie that was not highly publicised. After a friend recommended it I popped it into my player with no real expectations.
From the opening credits it grabbed my attention. The music was excellent and it had a hi-tech appearance that belayed my fears that it was yet another low budget Hong Kong B-grade martial arts flick.
The story progressed rather well and I became entranced in the subtleties of the plot. It flowed well from start to finish and had very little confusion that I find occurs a lot in HK movies. The action scenes while very 'Fantasy', were well balanced and not cheap. In general, Stormriders possesses a fantastic mix of stunts, CGA and musical score and will please.
I have seen both the 128 min version in Chinese with subtitles, and the 91 min English dubbed version. The only serious critical comment I have with the 128 min Chinese version is that the subtitles were a little small.
However watch the 91 min version at your peril!! Its missing so many scenes that it becomes so watered down that it becomes farcical. The main characters English dubbed voices don't suit the chars: Striding Cloud (Aaron Kwok)loses his essential moodiness, Jestor becomes a real on screen joke and Mud-Buddha loses his credibility as the all seeing prophet. In general you miss out on so many lovely little tidbits especially from Qi Shu (Muse) and the plot suffers terribly as you are forever fighting to catch up on what the heck is going on. You'll find yourself saying 'Hang on..!!', 'How the heck...', 'Woah, why is that..' etc.
When comparing 'Stormriders'(128min version) with 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', there is no comparison. It made me wonder why the latter received so much publicity and awards and Stormriders received nothing. It is seriously like comparing 'chalk and cheese'.
However, the 91min version of Stormriders I would rate 3/10 and that is being 'very' generous. Seriously - 128min version or nothing.
To this day, Stormriders (128 min)is up there with my very favourite all time action/martial arts movies. See it, I bet it will endear to you too:)
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