A loose adaptation of Hamlet, "The Night Banquet" is set in an empire in chaos. The Emperor, the Empress, the Crown Prince, the Minister and the General all have their own enemies they would like to finish off at a night banquet.
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Between the heaven and the Earth exist the Zu's mountain range, where live the immortals of Omei, the highest mountain of Zu, but the kingdom is in danger by Amnesia, a renegade immortal ... See full summary »
Ding Hui is a member of Purple Butterfly, a powerful resistance group in Japanese occupied Shanghai. An unexpected encounter reunites her with Itami, an ex-lover... and officer with a ... See full summary »
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Tony Chiu Wai Leung,
Story centers on a battle during China's Warring States Period, a series of civil wars, which spanned from the 5th to the 3rd century B.C. Based on a popular Japanese manga, which was in turn based a Japanese novel inspired by Warring States history in China.
In 1375, China was in chaos between Yuan Dynasty and Ming Dynasty. Coryo (an ancient kingdom of Korea then) sent a delegation of many diplomats, soldiers and a silent slave to make peace with the new Chinese government. However, this delegation got charged as spies and sent in exile to a remote desert. On the way the group came across a Yuan troop, and the Coryo soldiers managed to survive the battle. They began the journey toward the faraway home country, where they met the Yuan troop again. When they found out the Yuan troop kidnapped a Ming princess, they decided to rescue her so that they could get a ship to go home. Then the battle began... Written by
Stevie Cho <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Those who settle down to enjoy the excellent 150-odd minute Musa will be surprised at how much it suggests a Western. There's sweeping landcapes, a cross-desert ordeal; competition between villains and heros, 'stagecoach' chases, abandoned and defended forts, and 'cavalry' charges. These, as well as a strong sense of a man-having-to-do what-a-Man-has-to-do, combine to create familiarity to those who know such films as (for instance) The Alamo and Commanche Station. That's not to say that Musa has no originality, or is not strongly rooted within Korean national cinema. It contains a number of striking set pieces - notably the several pitched battle scenes, multiple characterisation, as well as some insight into the various power struggles which make up mid-fourteenth century Asian history. But at the heart of this package remain a well-tried fairy story, that of a cold Princess who must learn to swallow her pride, and of a brave servant's unrequited love.
Sung-Su Kim, who directs from his own screen play, does a very good job in drawing together his disparate group of travelling companions on a dangerous journey: a Princess, a General, a monk, soldiers, wives, a cowardly translator, a whore, etc. To provide suitable contrast between the moments of combat, he relates them in short, effective, dialogue scenes. Its good to see a film too in which the ubiquitous wire work and over the top gymnastics, beloved by some Eastern action directors, is conspicuous by its absence. Its also one where the director relies less on extreme camera angles and special effects to create visual drama than on the regular ebb and flow of dramatic editing. Perhaps because of this 'naturalness', the battle scenes are consistently exciting and involving. They are also staged in enough different locales to make them varied viewing each time. A standout is a desperate confrontation amongst trees, where the director takes full advantage of foliage cover, confusion, and events within the frame to create some real martial suspense.
The HK disc I saw was generally excellent, with occasional errors in subtitle grammar, as well as the odd compression problem (on-screen blur), usually during horizontal tracking movements. All told, though, the cheap price of this disk makes it an excellent buy and I strongly recommend it - and the film.
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