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His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao Zilong, a common man heeds the call of duty and from the humblest of roots rises through the ranks on wings of courage and cunning to command an army charged with liberating the land from an evil warlord. Inspiring by action, honor and a dream of unifying his divided nation, Zhao Zilong's heroism becomes legend, but as the years pass and the throne changes hands the war still rages on. When a newly enthroned king decides peace can only be achieved by defeating the warlords once and for all, the aging Zhao Zilong embarks on his final and greatest campaign, a road to adventure that will crown his name in glory for all time. Written by
Another Chinese epic film filled with heroes, enormous battle scenes, amazing panoramas and some great actors. Sounds cool and like a sure winner yet its an enormous waste of money and talent.
The battle scenes are a big disappointment. It would be fine if the writers/director/producers created a film that was small on battle scenes big on character development, plot development and dialog. Yet, the battle scenes are the majority of the film and there is no character development, very limited plot development and the dialog is boring and thankfully there's not much of it.
The battle scenes are filled with short cuts which are extremely hard to follow. One cut will have mounted units charging from left to right on the screen and then the next cut will show mounted units charging from right to left. Logically the viewer is led to believe that there are two opposing mounted units charging each other. A few cuts later it becomes apparent that all the mounted units are on the same side and chasing one guy.
The film spends 30-45 minutes on two battle sequences featuring a young Zilong, then 5-7 minutes on an elaborate ceremony featuring a middle aged Zilong and the rest of the film time is spent on the old Zilong.
The cinematography is typical of recent Chinese epics overly beautiful (death never looked so pretty) and big on ceremony. The problem is that it was chopped up like almond-fried chicken. The cinematography could have been the saving grace of this film however it was edited by someone on crack. The result is that it is beautifully confusing.
If you are looking for another great or at least entertaining Chinese epic film look elsewhere. There really is no reason to watch this film unless you are curious to the point of being masochistic as I often am.
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