Dull and derivative plot, though there is some nice kung fu action
This film is for the English dub of SNAKE CRANE SECRET--and in this case, the dubbing is rather poor. Keep this in mind, as the original Chinese movie might differ or be significantly better or worse.
I think I've finally seen so many martial arts films that many of them are starting to merge into one. Now this isn't to say I am tired of the genre, as I love one of these films if it has something new and unusual that sets it apart. But SNAKE CRANE SECRET is so full of derivative plot elements and clichés that I couldn't help but repeatedly think that I'd seen it all before. For example, the films begins with (what else?) a betrayal. And, of course, family members of the betrayed (two boys) are somehow spared and eventually grow up to vow revenge for their father's death (in many other films, it's their sensei or clan leader). Along the way, they meet a couple of kick-butt lady kung fu experts and the film is filled with celery-snapping special effects every time a kick or punch is delivered--even if it doesn't connect. And, in the end, there are also no surprises--NONE! About the only real positive for the film is that the martial arts are decent. While very few of their punches and kicks really connect, at least they generally come close (unlike some really BAD martial arts films). And, while it may get some getting used to compared to Japanese karate films and those of Bruce Lee, the ballet-style choreography of the fighting sequences is impressive. In other words, instead of looking like a real all-out fight, the scenes are extremely planned out and choreographed so it looks almost like a dance or work of art. It's a style I've seen in many other films and while not exactly realistic, I appreciate the care and effort going into the fights.
If you've seen only a few martial arts films, this one is well worth seeing. If you want something innovative or unique, I suggest you look elsewhere.
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