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 story centered on Tang Sanzang, a Buddhist trying to protect a village from three demons, his emerging feelings for Miss Duan, the demon hunter who helps him repeatedly, and Sanzang's transformative encounter with the Monkey King.
A cool gimmick, endlessly and irritatingly stretched
I really enjoyed most of the action flicks that director Benny Chan made in collaboration with martial arts icon Jackie Chan. For what it's worth, these unrelated Chans made a whole bunch of unpretentious and adrenalin-rushing popcorn movies that generally feature an ultra-thin plot but an overload of spectacular stunts and marvelously choreographed fighting sequences. The ultimate highlight of both their careers according to yours truly at least is the 2004 revision of the 80's franchise "Police Story". That film, simply entitled "New Police Story", is a downright awesome must-see in case you like your heroes invincible, your criminals pure evil and your action rough & explicit. I haven't followed Benny Chan's work since "New Police Story" but, browsing through his personal page on this lovely site, it seems like he reliably delivered a new movie practically each year. His 2010 accomplishment "City under Siege" played at this year's edition of the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Films and looked as if it had more than enough potential to become a crowd-pleaser. And yes, undoubtedly this could have been a real highlight this year if it weren't for the fact that the film is hopelessly overlong, tedious and repetitive. I'm very aware of the fact that Asian action movies are usually longer than necessary, but this one really pushed the edges of my tolerance level, what with its redundant sub plots, pointless melodrama and fighting sequences that more than outstayed their welcome! The rudimentary plot of "City under Siege" is nonetheless straightforward and full of great potential. A group of traveling circus artists stumble upon a cavern that used to serve as a secret military lab for unorthodox experiments during WWII. They inhale gas fumes and almost instantaneously notice their bodies mutating. They grow strengths and physical capacities that make them superhuman. Sunny, the geek and laughing stock of the bunch, uses his new gained powers for good causes, but the rest of them who were pretty obnoxious and egocentric to begin with can't resist the wide range of evil capacities and subject the whole city to a reign of terror. It's up to Sunny, together with a sexy news reporter and a romantically involved couple of police investigators, to stop them. Thus, simply put, "City under Siege" is somewhat the Asian take on "X-men" and a variety of other superhero movies, except of course that this isn't based on a Marvel comic book and that it most unfortunately - features sugary sweet romance and melodrama. This would have been a really cool and ultimately amusing film, if only Chan & C° had cut approximately 30 minutes of all the redundant padding footage. I'm honestly not talking about vital plot information, but merely the romantic interludes, the detailed analysis of literally every single insignificant supportive character and also even 2-3 minutes of each physical duel (even though they're impressively staged). The production clearly didn't tighten the budget-belt, however. There's a massive amount of explosions, car crashes, buildings and interiors of apartments getting demolished and that sort of frolics. The flamboyant and often extremely OTT make-up effects weren't cheap, neither, I imagine. Worth a look if you like cheesy, light-headed fantasy flicks and an absolute must-see in case you are, for some incomprehensible reason, a fan of sappy romance intermixed with violent kung-fu.
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