FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
The story of legendary Guan Yu crossing five passes & slaying six generals. He played a major role in the civil war that led to the collapse of Han Dynasty & the establishment of Shu Han of the 3 Kingdoms, making Liu Bei its first emperor.
In 1905, revolutionist Sun Yat-Sen visits Hong Kong to discuss plans with Tongmenghui members to overthrow the Qing dynasty. But when they find out that assassins have been sent to kill him, they assemble a group of protectors to prevent any attacks.
Seven years after the apparent death of Chen Zhen, who was shot after discovering who was responsible for his teacher's death (Huo Yuanjia) in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. A mysterious ... See full summary »
A police officer called Mr. Cool, who falls in love with an amnesiac named Jojo. Boy and Lee use WeChat and bump into each other one day. They decide to play a game to date each other for seven days but not to fall in love.
Whether you enjoy "14 Blades" will most likely depend on what you think of the extensive use of so-called 'wire fu' throughout the film. This term was coined some time ago to describe the martial arts you see in some Chinese films where the stunts can only be achieved using hidden wires and harnesses to make characters magically fly as they fight. This was popularized in the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" but was actually used well before this in some of the Shaw Brothers films of the 1970s (such as "Sister Street Fighter"). I don't mind these crazy techniques if they are used very sparingly. When it doesn't dominate the film and when the actors aren't doing things so insanely impossible that I have trouble enjoying the movie, it can be effective. Instead, I prefer martial arts films where the action is both plausible AND insanely realistic--such as in films like "Ip Man", "In the Blood" and the old Sonny Chiba Street Fighter films. To me, wire fu can become a gimmick-- especially when used too often. And, in "14 Blades" it simply is overused and as a result, the story itself is rather weak.
When the film begins, you learn that in the Ming Dynasty, the Emperors created the Jinyiwei. The Jinyiwei was initially a small group of men who were like a combination of spies and assassins. They were independent of the rest of the government and had the authority to overrule judges and dispatch supposed enemies of the Emperor with their bladed weapons. While this sounds far-fetched, I did some research and found that this really was a secret organization which was created in 14th century China! So, I applaud the film for basing the plot, in part, on real historical facts and characters.
One of these Jinyiwei, General Qinlong (Donnie Yen) is the hero, of sorts, in this film. He is betrayed by disloyal folks within the Emperor's court and spends the entire film being pursued by an outlaw Prince and his band of baddies. Throughout the film, it's one battle after another after another, as the Prince's troops try to kill Qinlong and steal the royal seal. And, the baddest of these baddies is Tuo Tuo, the Prince's adopted daughter. She has all sorts of magical fighting powers, can punch through trees, tosses enormous statues about as if they were made of styrofoam and can appear and disappear, fly and do practically anything. How could Qinlong possibly defeat this magical killing machine?!
To me, if Tuo Tuo had been eliminated from the film completely, "14 Blades" would have been a much better film. She simply was too impossible to believe and her stunts were insanely impossible--yet many of the fight scenes without her were exciting and high-energy. The wizards in The Lord of the Rings films had less powers than she did and to me this was just a distraction. This combining of real historical events (the Jinyimei) with ridiculous over-the-top characters didn't work for me and I wish the director, Daniel Lee, had focused less on these stunts and more on the story and realistic fighting. Not a bad film, it lacks the depth and believable characters I look for in a great martial arts movie.
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