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 ... See full summary »
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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
There is an old Soviet joke where the punch line is that all is quiet on the Finnish-Chinese border. That is where, psychologically at least, this film is set. It is a pioneering Finnish- Estonian-Chinese co-production, which takes the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, as its starting point.
It was clearly made on a limited budget, without much provision for travel. The result is that, in effect, we have two films with parallel plots and casts, one set in ancient China and one in a sort of modern Finland, where most of the action is divided between a junk shop, a museum and a subterranean forge. Only Tommi Eronen, who plays both protagonists, Kai and Sintai, appears in both parts. The dialogue is split roughly 50:50 between Finnish and Chinese. In style it is much more Asian than Finno-Ugric - swords-and-sorcery with mysterious sacred items, along with the aerial acrobatics and severed heads that have long characterised Asian martial arts flicks.
I found it intriguing rather than gripping or exciting, and had to work quite hard at times to follow it. Some of the symbolism was mystifying. Why was a yellow plastic duck floating in a barrel in the forge? What is the significance of the fly on the face of a dumb, or at least silent middle-aged woman? Still, trying to work out what is happening brings pleasures of its own. And much about the film deserves praise the acting is generally good, the special effects work, and the costumes and settings looked good, though without a real wow factor. The musical score fitted the film until the very end, when an English-language rock theme tune rapidly dispelled illusions which had taken nearly two hours to build.
Six out of ten.
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