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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
Jade Warrior is a new and excellent achievement for Finnish films. Not only is it a martial arts film that was made with a budget of a few million euros (which is still exceptionally high for a Finnish film), but it's also produced and directed as if it was made with a much higher budget by an experienced director. This is no embarrassing first attempt or prototype, but a genre film that's easily on par with modern standards, and also has an interesting, original and intelligent storyline. If you replaced Tommi Eronen with a Chinese actor and removed the parts taking place in Finland, people might conceivably think that Yimou Zhang has released a new movie. Since Jade Warrior is a martial arts film, a lot of attention will naturally be paid to the fight scenes, which are well choreographed and fluidly shot, without excessive closeups and quick cuts. I particularly like the use of flying leaves in fight scenes. While there are some impossible physics, they are used sparsely, and aren't too exaggerated.
The sets, costumes, effects and soundtrack are all outstanding, as are the actors. I think Markku Peltola's portrayal of the demon was especially interesting. Also, I don't mean to sound superficial, but Jingchu Zhang is stunningly and exceptionally beautiful. She's apparently a rising star in China, and is about to do a Hollywood film. I look forward to seeing her again.
Finnish cinema has almost entirely consisted of drama and comedy, with a few war films, so Jade Warrior is clearly a breath of fresh air. Certainly there are many good Finnish films, but they're either drama or comedy. I don't know why we're so reluctant to try something new. It's not just a budget issue, you don't necessarily need millions to do an action film, for instance. The fact that we've restricted ourselves to the aforementioned genres became apparent when I watched the film, because some of the dialogue made me cringe, since films like Jade Warrior are never done here, and the dialogue seems out of place. This isn't the film's fault, of course.
The limited international reaction seems to be very positive so far, and Finnish reviews have also been largely positive. Hopefully Jade Warrior will succeed to the point where we start doing more than low budget drama and comedy. Of course, this was a cooperative project with China, so credit must go to them as well.
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