On the hunt for a fabled treasure of gold, a band of warriors, assassins, and a rogue British soldier descend upon a village in feudal China, where a humble blacksmith looks to defend himself and his fellow villagers.
When a stranger, Thaddeus, is found badly wounded near the village, miner Li Kung and his wife Ah Ni offer him refuge. As he heals, he becomes entrenched in a conflict that pits the ... See full summary »
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Set in the 1950s, Rough Magic tells the story of what happens when a pretty apprentice magician goes to Mexico to escape her fiancé, a wealthy politician, and to find a Mayan shaman who ... See full summary »
In Jungle Village, the leader of the Lion's clan Gold Lion is summoned by the Governor and assigned to protect his gold that will be transported through the village. However he is betrayed and murdered by the greedy Silver Lion and Bronze Lion. Gold Lion's favorite son Zen Yi, a.k.a. The X-Blade, seeks revenge and heads to Jungle Village, but he is defeated by Brass Body and rescued by the local Blacksmith Thaddeus. Meanwhile the Gemini Female and the Gemini Male protect the Governor's gold, but they are vanquished by the army of Silver and Bronze Lion. The Blacksmith is abducted by the Lions and has his arms severed by Brass Body. However he is saved by the British Jack Knife, who is the emissary of the Emperor, and he manufactures iron arms for Thaddeus. Meanwhile the Governor sends the Jackal army to fight against the Lions and they hide the gold in the brothel of Madam Blossom. However, Madam Blossom and his girls form an army of black widows and together with Jack, Zen Yi and The... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
RZA's film has some amount of imagination,but, simply put, he has no idea how to build, pace, or tell a story. He has made the unfortunate mistake of imitating a genre he loves without understanding what makes it work. The dialogue is half nonsensical exposition, half nauseating one-liners. Lots of clumsy penis and vagina jokes.
The plot is so diffuse...there is not enough time given to any character for them to be read as an actual character. The film fails in tying together any of these frayed threads and also fails to make what happens in any of them significant or sensible. For example there is a "betrayal" plot which happens in the first two minutes of the film, when there is no context to make that betrayal meaningful, make the traitor seem particularly villainous, etc. The acting is very broad and simplistic, which I guess is to be expected given the things RZA expects them to say. He doesn't seem to understand that all of these things, the characters, dialogue, plot points, etc. are pointless without a proper context.
Some people might be inclined to tell me it's the "point" of the movie to not have a story, to be a loose framework on which a series of fight scenes are hung. I'd first suggest that that is not a meaningful effort to make. But even as a visual spectacle or stylistic effort, it doesn't do very well. All of the fights are basically the same knife/sword play... none of the characters really have a specific fighting style, and the CGI gore lopped onto the fights is excessive and silly. The music cues are embarrassingly overdone...any time the film wants you to feel an emotion, the sappiest orchestral music instantly kicks in, to the beat of a hip hop song.
I think it's possible that RZA could make a good film someday, but this certainly isn't it.
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