Chinese steampunk martial arts blockbuster about the early years of Tai chi master Yang Luchan, the man who founded in the 19th century what has now become the most popular Tai Chi style in... See full summary »
Tang Sanzang, a Buddhist trying to protect a village from three demons, his emerging feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and Sanzang's trans-formative encounter with the Monkey King.
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When Aryong, the daughter of a triad boss from Hong Kong is accused of killing the boss of a competing triad, she is goes into hiding in Korea. Upon arriving, she is guided by a nimble but loyal Gi-chul and his motley crew, who are assigned to protect her until her return.
The low rating of the film is probably due to the fact that this was marketed as a horror film, and even has a "horror version" edited available on the DVD. What a mistake! - certain to disappoint horror film fans.
This is of course really a drama about the terrible loss of possibility that sometimes chance brings about by intervening with our commonplace experience with loved ones. These experiences we claim to cherish, but in reality we take them for granted, forgetting that we are all mortals and that all love risks coming to an end in the most horrifying - yet inevitable - way - with the death of those we love.
Filmed as something of a nightmare (without ever getting flashy), crisply directed, with some wonderful performances - probably the most mature performance I've seen from Qi Shu.
Excellent drama - but not a horror film. If you want your heart wrenched, this does a good job of it, If you want to be scared, looked elsewhere.
NOTE, 2009: It took me a year (and 11 months after the death of my own mother) to get up the gumption to see this film again, it is that strong. Now it has entered my top-20 list of best films of all time. These images will haunt you for all time. And if you've ever wondered why you should pay respect to the woman who gave you birth, see this film. It's like saying you don't like mom, and having Gloria Steinem slam a fist in your jaw for saying so - and that's not bad. A feminist "Phantom of the Opera;" one of the strongest scripts to be written in China over the past 30 years, perhaps the strongest drama to come out of China in its decade. Powerful. Not a thriller, sorry, just a strong script and strong performances all around.
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