|Index||5 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ever wonder that for one success story like Jet Li, how many potential
martial art stars in China end up leading not-so-glamorous lives as
instructors, cops, bodyguards, stuntman, movie action designers and, in
some unfortunate cases, using their skills for criminal activities?
This maybe a good reason for watching Wushu.
One way of looking at this movie is as a semi-documentary. Wushu, or martial arts, is more an art than anything else, explains widowed martial art school teacher Lee (Sammo Hung, the only professional movie actor in the entire cast). But it is a lot more than just an art. It is a competitive sport just like in the Olympics, with most of what we see in the format of gymnastic floor exercise, plus a free-combat event that could be similar to boxing, judo, wrestling or taekwondo. Indeed, there has long been talk that Chinese martial arts would become Olympic events, but the main obstacle is the lacking of a universally accepted scoring system. But I digress.
Another angle is a coming-of-age story of five buddies (4 guys and a girl) whom we see initially as kids and then ten years later as young men and women competing to represent their school in the provincial competition, in various events. The plot line is familiar, what you would have seen in movie about different fields of endeavour music, dance, sports. There is also family sentiment as two of the five are Lee's own sons, and light romance in two generations adolescents inevitably, as well as what remains of a triangle after Lee's wife had died. But everything is refreshingly down-to-earth.
The cast, except for Hung, comprises real-life martial students, and it is quite obvious that they are champions in their own field. As mentioned, except for the free-combat event, all other competitions we see are one-person demonstrations very much along the line of floor exercises in gymnastics. Exhilarating as they are to watch, they may not satisfy hard-core kungfu movie fans looking for the kind of action they expect. For this, there is a subplot involving a child-kidnapper gang (one of whom is an old, expelled student, and skill-wise the best of them all, I'm sure you would not have guessed!).
This is not your usual kungfu action movie. Ironically, its lack of sophistication may well be a reason that makes it more enjoyable than otherwise.
There's been a lot of hype about this film, and as a fan of kung fu films I've been looking forward to seeing it. The other thing that made me interested is the director, Antony Szeto, cause I saw his first film Dragon Blade in the theaters. Dragon Blade was a kid's computer animated film but the martial arts action in it is far more superior to the jumping around camera shots used for the fights in Kung Fu Panda. And Dragon Blade had a well thought out story to it, unlike the run of the mill production-line senseless stories that have been coming out of Hong Kong over the last ten/fifteen years. In Wushu, the director again gives us something unexpected, and again a well thought out story. As a family film it has something for everyone and I enjoyed myself throughout it. The story of the kids growing up in a poor single parent family is both touching and current, and I thought the way wushu as a sport was presented was very smart. Sammo Hung's performance as the father and teacher was surprisingly good... he should have got an award for it! Though the fight scenes in it don't number enough to satisfy the die hard action over all else fans, the main fight scene where Sammo comes up against the main bad guy is fantastic edge of the seat stuff. All in all, I laughed at the fun parts, was touched by the father-son relationship, was excited by the action, and amazed by the skills. This film was all out good entertainment... and in the end isn't that what we all pay to watch a film for?
Not a brilliant Kung Fu film by any means but still a very watchable and enjoyable one. Sammo Hung is a real star who even at his age can still fight with convincing skill. He has come a long way since his role as the fat boy losing to Bruce Lee in the opening fight in Enter the Dragon. He also shows in this film what a great actor he is and steals every scene he is in. The supporting cast are all very good and clearly very highly skilled in Martial Arts. The bad guy is suitably menacing and has one of those faces that can change in an instant from innocent looking to totally evil. In all a very enjoyable film although I am sure die hard Kung fu fans may feel it is a little light weight.
As much as I enjoy Asian martial arts movies, then "Wushu" from 2008
failed to impress me. Sure the martial arts sequences were nice and
well choreographed. But it just felt like watching a staged display of
skills in the Wushu fighting style and the entire movie was permeated
by a sense of it being made specifically to cater a young teenage
The story in "Wushu" was straight forward, sure, but it was also so predictable to the core that it was embarrassing to witness. You knew exactly how the movie was going to pan out and how it would end right from the very beginning. And as such then director Antony Szeto was merely running on autopilot and sitting comfortably in his comfort zone. This made the movie suffer a devastating blow.
It should be noted that the martial arts performers and actors/actresses were doing good enough jobs with their limited options in terms of script and story. But they were most definitely delivering quite well in terms of technical aspects of their martial arts performances. But a movie with nothing but displays of martial arts skills can only go so far, and it was nowhere enough to support an hour and forty-four minutes.
Sammo Hung is used to lure in the viewers, as he is the most established and familiar of all the talents in the movie. However, it should be said that his role is merely a supportive role. He is not the lead actor by any means, and it was initially what lured me into buying the movie. So I was somewhat disappointed with that.
If you are a teenager and fascinated with the martial arts, then you will find much enjoyment in "Wushu". However, if you are more of a mature mind and prefer to watch martial arts movies that also come with a proper storyline, then "Wushu" is a weak choice of movies. There are far better Chinese martial arts movies available.
I am rating "Wushu" a mere four out of ten stars, solely because of the impressive martial arts and choreography there was in the movie. And Sammo Hung also did help to lift up the movie somewhat, despite having a supportive role only.
A group of children arrive to a martial art schools and decide to make
a team to fight for good and to defeat bad. Travel ten years into the
future and they are all grown up and taking part in some sort of
"Jackie Chan Presents: Wushu" has little in terms of plot or good dialogue. But you are not watching these movies for that (anything is a good excuse to have cool fights), even if it helps. But here the fights are not so important either, as the actors showing their skills in the competition (little fighting, more demonstration type) comes over the pure and unadulterated action. It is good enough, but nothing you haven't seen in countless of other movies. Sometimes it even feels a little bit documentary-type. And even if the actors do a good enough job, the material is too thin (like non- existent) to do much with it.
The movie basic message is about how we can and have to fight for our future and how important family and hard-work is, a little bit naive but OK enough.
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