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The Warrior and the Wolf More at IMDbPro »Lang zai ji (original title)

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Artsy love story rather than heroic epic

Author: Harry T. Yung ( from Hong Kong
23 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The trailer is somewhat misleading. Rather than a heroic epic, this is an intimate tale of love and passion (perhaps in reversed order), which is not surprising if you have seen director TIAN Zhuangzhuang's 2002 remake of the all time Chinese film classic "Springtime in a small town". His painfully slow pace is often too trying for the average audience's patience. At least one walked out in the show I attended.

The first one-third of the movie is devoted to establishing the main protagonist – a quick-witted but mild-tempered young shepherd's initiation into the brutality of warfare and eventual transformation into a seasoned warrior, all this done in magnificently shot landscapes that are at once splendorous and desolate. The appearance of a mysterious, beautiful woman from a "cursed" tribe shifts the mood of the movie, with ensuing hot steaming sex scenes aplenty. In the last third of the film, the legend finally emerges, with the mist that shrouded the curse lifted, only to bring the audience into a new realm of mysticism.

Jo Odagiri and Magie Q bring to this movie convincing performances of a relationship that started with raw passion but evolves into something deeper. As mentioned, cinematography is something to look forward to. There isn't much by way of spectacular action but one scene showing a huge wolf pack fleeing from a devastating storm is quite impressive. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more people disappointed than pleased by this movie. Should that be the case, I would blame it on the trailer which creates the wrong kind of expectation.

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15 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A bad attempt to make an artistic movie

Author: Neal Palomino from Canada
14 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie did look promising but greatly disappoints. I saw the world premier at the Toronto Film Festival and many people left the theatre early because they were so confused and disappointed. The story line fallows this order: 1. There is a war. 2. A man doesn't want to become a warrior. 3. That same man is now the leader of the army. 4. This man is now raping a woman that lives under the ground and keeps her trapped there. 5. The two fall in love. 6. Two wolves (which I think are the lovers) kill the last army leader.

This is very confusing because there is no transition at all. You struggle to try to understand what is happening. The director seems to enjoy highlighting the landscape, which was enjoyable to see. But that was the only positive thing that I have about this film.

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15 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

A Nutshell Review: The Warrior and the Wolf

Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
23 January 2010

Nice poster, nice trailer, disaster of a film. I didn't expect to discover something so bad so early in the year, but I did. If you're looking for a film that's self-indulgent to the point that the narrative doesn't make sense, nor even attempted to tell a proper story, then look no further than Chinese director Tian Zhuangzhuang's The Warrior and The Wolf.

If there's only one plus point, then I'd say to watch this for the lusciously beautiful cinematography which captured plenty of postcard picturesque landscapes that will take your breath away, and one action scene involving a large stampeding pack of wolves. Otherwise, the film is wrong on many counts, starting with the casting of art house darling Jo Odagiri opposite Maggie Q, both of whom cannot speak Mandarin and had to rely on dubbers to speak on their behalf. Which of course is a curious case of casting, since I for one amongst the audience gets disturbed when the lip movement doesn't sync with dialogue.

Why these two were chosen I have no idea (Maggie Q replacing Lust, Caution's Tang Wei actually), but probably because of the fact that the film contained rape scene after rape scene, that it really went overboard. What more in a very uncreative, repetitive coming from behind each time, that I wonder what Tian Zhuangzhuang actually wanted to infer from gratuitously boring sex that never seemed to know how and when to end.

Based upon the short story by Japanese writer Yasushi Inoue, the film is set during the warring states period, and tells of the tale of a warrior Lu Chengkang (Odagiri), an indecisive chap who one day on his way home with his troops, chance upon the nomadic Harran tribe, and forces his way to a woman, played by Maggie Q. To follow the story is extremely tiring because the narrative flits back and forth with nary a proper transition to cue you in, and made worse by Odagiri having to play his character from hero to cad, from determined leader to indecisive chap.Maggie Q fared no better though, and had absolutely zero chemistry with her co-star.

Then there's the myth inserted that the Harran people were once wolves, but at this point you'll probably give up by the lacklustre storyline, the needless graphical sex (with blink and you miss peekaboos) that had the lovers just go on continuously like jackrabbits, and wondering just what everyone was possibly smoking to have had this project green lit and shot. You'll wonder what it's angle is about, and just what it was trying to achieve with bad filming techniques making its convoluted narrative worst off.

You have been warned to skip this.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

art film about an artistic folk tale

Author: elanor-3 from Europe
7 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched now "The Warrior and the Wolf" two times and it worked rather well for me as an art film.

For me the film is structured in three parts: 1) war 2) warrior and woman 3) folk tale about humans shape-changed into wolves.

The time-structure of the first part "war" is not easy to follow at first viewing, but on the other hand not as hard as I feared from the reviews. The first part reminds me very much of the first part in Yasushi Inoue's novel "Tun-huang (1959)", where a scholar from central China is shaped into a warrior by a general in the western out-reaches of the Chinese empire soon to be overrun by tribal people. This part has the same feeling of following a whirling leaf in a storm.

The second part "warrior and woman" is still reminding me of the scholar's story in "Tun-huang", because the scholar-warrior finds a princess, hides her in a store-house, and finally forces intercourse, after which she considers herself his wife. I like the second part best, because it shows the strongest acting as the actors portray very conflicting emotions. Odagiri has convinced me now in three different eccentric roles: mad samurai, uninformed prince, peace-loving warrior. Some reviewers wrote about repeated rape and Stockholm syndrome. My impressions were more that here animalistic behaviour overruled humanist behaviour. The woman is very conflicted. Maggie Q. is somewhat less convincing than Jo Odagiri, but her character is the more difficult to portray. She is partly a wolf and partly human and thus her humanity leads her to moral behaviour while her wolf nature leads her to quite different expressions by which she lures the warrior to the wolf side.

The third part, the folk tale, is for me the weakest. Not in the sense of the director's vision but in the sense of handicraft. It uses cgi and trained animals, but nevertheless it's simply a bit less convincing because those "tricks" are still discernible and thus a bit irritating to me. I can infer what the director wanted to tell, and that works quite well for me, but since I feel irritated by the artefacts of make-belief I perceive the last part as the least perfect.

Overall for me the film has very good pictures, good direction, and great acting. I have not read the original short story, but by comparing Yasushi Inoue's novel "Tun-huang (1959)" and short-story "The Hunting Gun (1949)" with the film I think that the director captured Yasushi's style quite well.

In my view the film might be quite attractive for people who like modern poetry, in the sense of feeling comfortable with visualisations based on mental associations and produced by a disjunctive structure. The film "The Warrior and the Wolf (2009)" reminded me in style and nihilistic atmosphere of the films "Valhalla Rising (2009)" and "Dust (2001)", but worked decidedly better for me than these two.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great cinematography, no script

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
18 October 2012

THE WARRIOR AND THE WOLF is a beautiful film to look at. The lush cinematography with its wide landscape shots of endless expanses of wilderness, hilly terrain and distant mountains is a glory to behold. The colours are vivid and the director has a real eye for nature's beauty. Wolves play a large part in the film's background and they've never looked so appealing as they do here. The addition of a wolf pup to the storyline only adds to that feeling.

A shame then that in all other respects this is a dog, rather than a wolf, of a film. It starts off muddled, with murky choppily-edited battle sequences and a disjointed feel to the narrative. The erstwhile hero of the piece is a pacifist shepherd one moment and a ruthless leader of men the next. I didn't have a clue what was going on in regards to the historical backdrop and it's always a giveaway of poor writing when they have to keep including on-screen text at regular intervals to tell the viewer what's supposed to be going on.

After half an hour or so of this, the action shifts to a supposedly cursed village where the lead character meets a woman and rapes her. Then he rapes her again, and again after that. Eventually, the woman falls in love with her attacker, a plot point that is so repellent as to be purely offensive. The ending of the film just peters out with no real explanation of what's happened or what we just watched. Odagiri plays the lead with the same stony-faced expression from beginning to end and Maggie Q is relegated to a window-dressing role with pretty much all of her scenes taking place in the bedroom. If you're looking for a decent Chinese historical then give this one a wide berth.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Only buy this movie if you find it in the bargain bin.

Author: talonsyi from United Kingdom
26 February 2012

For a start, this is not a martial arts movie although I did discover it while browsing through the martial arts section of a online retailer.

This movie is short, has very little dialogue and the plot is vague at best.

Because of the lack of dialogue it is very difficult to get a feel for any of the main characters or a involvement in what little story there is.

Don't let the fact that it is from the same producer as Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fool you into thinking this movie could be any good.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Yet again the good premise/bad deliverance type.

Author: Rhade Liu from Canada
10 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like the title says, this is one of those movies. Good attempt with many bits of good elements but collaged together into a mess that depending on your tolerance, leave you unsatisfied at the very least.

First off, great scenery though heavily filtered that end up ruined the scenes.(At least for me). Music sounds great and make everything more atmospheric. Acting wasn't terrible but could definitely improved. Set design and everything else props wise looks solid. The only big thing then is how the director delivered the story through the film. I haven't read the novel by the original author which this movie is based on so I can't compare. Without getting into too much detail, the story sets during the Han Dynasty of China, revolving a man's journey and encounter at the western frontier where nomadic tribes kept pestering the empire's borders. The focus of the story is on the literal "transformation" of this man before, during and after. The movie involves a lot of fast and short cuts that I personally dislike. There were quite a few of shuffling around the time of the events to fast track the experience of the character(At the start of the movie)to the audience which might turn some people off but I actually liked. Though the cuts were rather short but the movie was a slow one which isn't a bad thing and I honestly liked the first half of the movie with its little guessing game of what happened and some rather good exploitations of inner emotions but as the movie went on, it started to go down hill, eventually ended up in a mess of a movie with too much extra footage that felt shouldn't be there and the ending made for a lot to be desired.

This is a movie that had good material to be sure. I am sure the novel would be better than this but this film isn't the worst either. In short, if the film had better editing and "tiding" up, it could have been an enjoyable movie.

So take that with a grain of salt.

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Nowhere near as interesting as the DVD cover...

Author: Paul Magne Haakonsen from Denmark
24 December 2015

I purchased this movie from Amazon because I overly enjoy Asian cinema and also because Maggie Q is in the movie. From the DVD cover it would seem that this is a Chinese epic movie, but the truth is far from it. This is a story of doomed love and an ancient curse. Yeah, still does sound interesting, but this movie was one of the slowest and boring Asian movies that I have seen for quite a while.

The storyline never really got up into proper speed to make it interesting, and the plot was just too dull. And this was ultimately the downfall of the movie.

As for the acting, well lets just say that there was nothing impressive or memorable about this. And Maggie Q wasn't up to her usual level here; perhaps because she had nothing to work with from the script.

There were some adequately executed scenes throughout the movie, but the overall result was just a slow paced movie which had very little to offer, and as such then not even those good scenes really did much to raise the level of the movie.

Of course it is utopia to think that every Asian movie will be great, and "The Warrior and the Wolf" was a wide swing and a miss.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Boring, even more boring, this movie

Author: Knighthawk701 from Netherlands
20 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is basically about a guy who doesn't want to be a warrior but is more or less forced to become one. Later on he even makes it to a leader. How and why? I have no clue. Problem is things move so unbelievably slow that you simply cannot be bothered to keep track of the story. At least if there was one to begin with. At a certain moment there seems to be one about a tribe of cursed people connected to wolves. At that moment I hoped for some reconnection to the movie and main character, but scene after scene it keeps dragging along going nowhere really as he starts to rape a woman that claimed to be doomed. I almost never turn off a movie, but I stopped watching it after like 30 minutes of rape and more boredom.

The only good thing I can mention about this movie are the scenery, some shots are breathtaking. But if I wanted that I could pop in a DVD with landscapes, which is actually less boring then this movie as I come to think of it.

The trailer shows attacks of ghost wolves and some action, maybe it's packed at the last 15 minutes or something, but to get there is just a waste of time.

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