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The story of legendary Guan Yu crossing five passes & slaying six generals. He played a major role in the civil war that led to the collapse of Han Dynasty & the establishment of Shu Han of the 3 Kingdoms, making Liu Bei its first emperor.
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The film wasn't going to be part action film at first but that changed once Donnie Yen came on-board. As the film's action director, Donnie requested additional funds in order to shoot action scenes accordingly to the story. The result became the now famous alley fight and the last fight with Jing Wu and Sammo Kam-Bo Hung respectively. See more »
During the final fight sequence, Donnie's shoes change from boots to sneakers in several shots. See more »
.. when he called SPL the pinnacle of his martial arts choreography. It rocks. HARD. Not only are the fights are brutal, fast, and complex, but Donnie may have achieved the impossible: He made Brazillian ju-jitsu look exciting on film. Donnie's character repeatedly goes for takedowns, armbars, chokes, and all the moves that you might see in a UFC or Pride match (with Sammo countering attacks exactly how the big fighters do it in a real bout), while seamlessly combining them with the incredibly fast, complex punching and kicking exchanges you'd expect in a Hong Kong flick. Did I mention that the fights are bone-crunchingly brutal? There is a real nastiness to the punchups that should yield a great reaction from enthusiastic audiences. And then there is the spectacular Wu Jing vs Donnie Yen fight. It starts off very, very fast and complex, then at a certain point, the tempo changes and you suddenly realize that it's because they're just making it up ON THE SPOT and the damn thing becomes even more impressive. The long, unbroken takes should please fight purists, too.
The film itself also holds up. Director Wilson Yip really shows off his passion and skill in this film. It's an intense crime drama that doesn't have to pander to any teeny boppers, so he is free to finally let loose. The story is solid and Yip takes the opportunity to devise some great sequences. There's a scene that cuts between Donnie looking at photos of the policemen he's about to lead and footage of the same cops intensely doing their business that is pure cinema.. a scene that could have been plain on paper, but is made exciting purely through the director's vision - the way it's cut and scored and staged. In other words, there is a lot of obvious effort put into the drama. It isn't just some thrown together filler btwn fight scenes. This is a real film. Oh, and one comment about the audio: It's amazing. The music is superb and the sound effects are everything you could hope for in a kung fu film (ie, they accentuate every move and hit as you'd want them to). I hope the DVD has a great DD5.1 track and that you have the system to play it 'cause it'll make a big difference.
Complaints? I have only one: The fights should have been a little longer, but that's okay because they burn twice as bright as most.
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