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Thousands of years ago in ancient China, a love struck sword hero fights against his destiny. He wants another chance to be reunited with his loved one and he gets that chance, in a far away place and a far away time, in the cold north, in modern Finland. Jade Warrior is set in ancient China early iron age and present day Finland. The past is feeding the story in present day, slowly revealing our warrior his real origin, his superior skills and his destiny. Jade Warrior - the first Finnish Kung Fu film - combines Finnish and Chinese mythologies into one film. Jade Warrior is an homage to Kung Fu genre strongly spiced with a truly original approach to Finnish national epic Kalevala. Like Kalevala Jade Warrior is a pure melodrama. A story of Kalevala's greatest hero. Written by
Jadewarrior may very well be the best Finnish film in decades, perhaps in history.
The first major genre-film in Finnish history, Jadewarrior is a slick and stylish movie of epic proportions. Combining both Chinese Wuxia and the national epic, Kalevala, into a seamless whole the movie creates a beautifully realized vision of alternate history and mythology.
Kai is a blacksmith, living in the outskirts of Helsinki. After his girlfriend leaves him, and meeting a mysterious store owner with an obsession of the Kalevala - Kai is thrust into a battle between good and evil that has raged since ancient times. Should Kai fail, it would cost the lives of not only his beloved, but everyone in the world.
Since it's conception, Finnish films have been in stuck in a rut of bad and repetitive storytelling, with films that you couldn't distinguish from each other without looking at their names. With only dozens upon dozens of war and drama films to our credit, Jadewarrior presents finally visions of grandeur of what Finnish cinema could become. Effortlessly switching between modern magical realities á la Neil Gaiman and the epic scopes of Zhang Yimous Hero and House of Flying Daggers, Jadewarrior is brimming with talented storytelling and visual delivery to match it. First time helmer, A.J Annila charges with leaps and bounds to the very small minority of interesting Scandinavian filmmakers to look out for.
Filmed in locations around the world, such as China and it's home country of Finland, Jadewarrior boasts with visually powerful locales to match it's breathtaking action. With production values most Scandinavian films would die for, the film has the look and feel of a major Hollywood blockbuster, but with wit and heart to match it's brawn. Never force feeding it's centuries spanning plot, Jadewarrior constructs a surprisingly intelligent and heartfelt tale of tragedy without ever feeling forced or calculated.
With actors ranging from Finnish newcomers (Krista Kosonen) to Chinese pro's (Jingchu Zhang), the film delivers. First time leading man, Tommi Eeronen works wonders with his challenging dual role as Kai and Sintai. Switching between his native language of Finnish to fully realized Mandarin Chinese effortlessly. Markku Peltola also succeeds in making his character both tremendously threatening and charming with small nuances, also delivering his performance partly in Mandarin. Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu has the fragile beauty of a young Michelle Yeoh, balancing her performance between the maiden in love and the battle hardener warrior. And while some of the Finnish dialog may sound cringe worthy to native speakers - thanks to it's melodramatic inspirations, Kalevala and Wuxia - the subtitled Chinese segments work better than anyone would have dared to imagine.
With 2006 still having a good way to go before it's end, calling Jadewarrior one of the best films of the year may be a slight gamble. But calling it the best Finnish film in memory isn't. Beautiful, heartfelt, with action and set-pieces to die for - Jadewarrior marks hopefully the beginning of a new wave in Finnish film-making, and deserves all praise coming for it.
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