|Index||8 reviews in total|
The Legendary Amazons looks great on paper, produced and funded by
Asian superstar Jackie Chan, aided by a huge budget to burn, a quality
cast list of Richie Ren, Cecilia Cheung, the return of much missed
Kathy Chow and old school veteran Cheng Pei-Pei and directed by a
veteran in the HK film industry in Frankie Chan. So what exactly went
wrong? The answer is everything. From the lame and weak script, cheesy
acting, extremely poor directing and execution, The Legendary Amazons
promises a lot, but delivers absolutely nothing. When you have one of
the best actresses in Hong Kong cinema in Cecilia Cheung, one wonders
how she can turn in a career suicide performance. Apart from the NT$30
million pay check that she received from the role, her performance here
is laughable at best and a far cry from the days of being acclaimed in
Lost in Time and A Nite in Mongkok. Richie Ren is one actor that have
improved dramatically in the past decade and in particular due to his
involvement in numerous Johnny To's films, but here, he lacks presence,
more wooden than Edison Chen and his character is far to distant for
the audience to feel for him. Perhaps the best thing in the film comes
in the form of the much missed Kathy Chow and despite her limited
screen time, she graced the film with the same determination like she
did 13 years ago in the grity Beast Cops. Still, the shoulder of blame
should be attributed to Frankie Chan, a director who have not done much
in the past decade and have not made a decent film in almost 20 years.
With such a huge budget on the ball, what was Jackie Chan thinking?
Couldn't he have at least gone for someone who can handle epic
commercial war movies like Benny Chan or himself? These are all
questions that are no longer of importance, as the fact is out there
The Legendary Amazons is a bad film and there are no excuses to be
All in all, The Legendary Amazons fails big time, especially with all the talent involved. To say The Legendary Amazons is a bad film is an understatement, as not only did it fail to meet expectations, but it is an outright disappointing effort. If not for some good action scenes and the grand scale of the battle scenes, the film will not even be watchable. Still, for such a film, being watchable is not good enough and let's hope this is just a one off mis-step from Cecilia Cheung, as this is easily her worst performance in her career. It is that disappointing
Neo rates it 3/10
When I purchased this movie from Amazon, it was with a certain amount
of expectation to it; because it had Cecilia Cheung in it, plus it also
brandished "impressive" and "a genre breakthrough" on the cover. Uhm,
yeah, what genre are they making a breakthrough in? Having seen the
movie, I sit here somewhat dazzled. Why? Well, because the movie was
only partially as I had expected it to be. The good part about the
movie is that it is sort of an epic movie in itself, and they managed
to build up a good sense of believability with the sets and the whole
feeling to the movie.
The armors and the costumes in the movie were amazing to look at. There were so many small details in everything that it was just spectacular. And that is one of the better parts of the movie, because they really managed to bring the feel of the given era to life on the screen.
And the battle scenes were grand and mostly epic. Lots of really nice fighting, action and choreography here. You might notice that I said 'mostly'. Yeah, because there were scenes during the fight that were painfully obviously staged and looked that way as well.
The less than impressive aspects of the movie, were many of the death scenes were just hilarious to look at, reminding me of something from the old black and white movie genre. You see someone struggling, then falling down awkwardly and laying still. It was just too staged and fake, and most of the death scenes in the movie here were just among some of the worst death scenes I have seen in similar movies.
Another thing that didn't really aid the movie in its progress was the way the director attempted to mix epic warfare with the petty feudal matters of a house in the royal Chinese army. It just seemed a little bit too much - delving a bit too far into being a Chinese soap opera.
And finally, there were just too many characters to keep track of, and you just ended up shrugging your shoulders whenever one of the Yang family died, because you had no idea who it was or had any particular kind of 'on-screen relationship' to that person. It was like they were all extras in the frame just to add to the chaos.
In overall, then "Legendary Amazons" - despite its cheesy title - is an average movie of this genre; nothing breakthrough to be had here. There are far better movies available in the same genre. And truth be told, then Cecilia Cheung and Richie Ren did little to raise the appeal of the movie. It was a fairly average experience, and hence, the 5 out of 10 rating from me.
If there's a question I can ask director Frankie Chan, it will be
whether he's genuinely proud of this effort. He's a veteran, and
there's no denying that he's done a handful of entertaining films I've
grown up with. There's no lack of funding in making this film, from the
numerous costumes, weaponry, and sheer logistics in staging large
scaled battles, coupled with special effects that looked really
slipshod, but this one really took the cake in the disrespect shown
toward production values on the whole, and with that insulted the
technical craftsmanship of those who work hard in the industry, having
their craft sullied by quick hacks who couldn't care less about quality
so long as they get a semblance of something done. It's as if the
producers had paid Cecilia Cheung millions from their budget, then
realized their folly as they ran out of funds to ensure quality in
their delivery such that corners had to be cut, and cut in the most
Battle scenes were so obviously switched from outdoor shoots to interior sound stages with badly done green screen effects, and the action choreography itself was lacking in ideas that it started to be unintentionally funny, from obvious speeding up of frames to compensate for the actresses lack of martial arts background, to horses definitely on a slow trot rather than being ridden at top speed to escape pursuing enemies. I could have sworn the cast were just going through the motion during production, with little care being taken to ensure some form of proper stance adopted to make them credible warriors. Believability is something never considered at all by anyone in the film, and the wire work utilized here is nothing short of embarrassing the craftsman who had perfected the art of executing such moves seamlessly and without much fanfare. At best, it looked like Chinese Opera (no offense intended), with many twirls and gentle combat passing off as intense life or death battles Boasting a cast of veterans such as Ritchie Jen, Kathy Chow, Cheng Peipei and Cecilia Cheung herself amongst other relative unknowns to make up the numbers of 10 or more of the widowers from the Yang family who had to step up and be counted when the sole male bloodline is called upon to lead grossly outnumbered troops against the enemy. We learn who they all are, right down to their maiden names and weapons of choice, but frankly you would only remember the many poor wirework and effects trying to pass the characters off as formidable warriors. What you would get is the sorry feeling for any self-respecting performer having to put up with sub-standard support that calls for the actresses to be at their best to avoid laughing at themselves, keeping a straight face to deliver cringeworthy lines and juvenile action pieces.
Which is a pity, because there was so much potential hidden in the film that went unrealized, if only they had paid a lot more attention to what story they want to tell rather than to take on every caricature, and added depth to the romantic story contained within, which came complete with some lesbian undertones as well. But I digress. In summary it's summer blockbuster material with a very simple plot of good versus evil, with the former being outnumbered and hampered from victory no thanks to corrupt officials, and the reliance of their strategies and wits to defeat both the enemy from within and the larger invasion forces. If done right that is. Big action pieces were assembled haphazardly, with the ones that took the cake involving Raiders of the Lost Ark type giant rolling balls on fire, and the constructing of human bridges so ridiculous it has to be seen to be believed. Characters came and went according to their conveniences when doing battle, that the initial strategy of flanking and outflanking the enemy, and the employment of military deceit, turned out to be nothing but one complete, incoherent mess.
The filmmakers could have just gotten away with it if not for the very amateurish martial arts on display, since in my opinion good kungfu trounces the need of a proper plot, though not always. What's legendary in this film, was clearly the blatant slip shoddiness of its filmmaking, grossly insulting all paying audiences by conning their hard earned dollar to deliver something even if made in the 1970s, will be frowned upon for its lack of artistic merit and integrity. The subtitle in Mandarin refers to how military orders are like mountains, unmovable and expected to be followed to the letter, and would have served as a pretty awesome crux to the entire movie, but in reality these scenes became jokes, and the only unmovable experience was the innate need to see just how bad this film will go and stoop to.
Films such as Legendary Amazons can be made with Mainland funding, but please either have a little quality control or stop meddling with a veteran filmmaker's vision (I have an inkling Frankie Chan could have suffered interference from those who hold the purse strings), and restrict its distribution to a home market that is perhaps a lot more forgiving than markets abroad, where competition in quality is keener, and any average films put side by side will make them look like masterpieces. Avoid at all cost, unless you have plenty of time to burn, in which I would recommend you'd get more kick out of watching paint dry. The Yang Family Warriors this is not, but more like The Yang Family Circus Clown Troupe.
With all the talent and the script that thing film acquired was
destined to be great. But no. It was terrible. I don't dare explain why
it went so wrong. Apparently the director hasn't even made a good film
in over 2 decades, so why would they choose him to make a big budget
The biggest problem in this film were the 'mothers' and 'grandmothers'. Seriously they all look the same age, they are all young and most likely late 20s to early 30s but no, this film makes them out to seem a generation apart. Just no. In all my viewings of Asian films, this one takes the joke out of that. Continuity seems to be a major problem in this film, one second the lady warriors are taking off 2 chain mail suits and suddenly 10 seconds later they got two thick chain mail rope of about 50 metres, how is that possible? The one thing i hate about Asian films is the over dramatic fight scenes where the fighters seem to fly 10 metres because screw logic and the physics law, there is no reason that it should be added.
I'm not sure if the actors reputation went in decline after but if it didn't then thats good, they put a real performance but the director - terrible. Just quit. Seriously I don't know how i managed to go through that film especially after trying to make myself quit.
Warn you, don't watch it especially if you have OCD.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not going to spoil it much, but the beginning, was EPIC. Its about sisters (well at least by their names they are sisters) training. There's awesome music in the background and all these fancy kind of filming. (One of them, I can't remember, is pro at archery. The film exaggerates at the beginning her skill, with her shooting bullseye while fighting, and doing a back flip before letting go the arrow and it hits like RIGHT in the middle.) The first 9 minutes is a summary basically and an overview of their lives until now. Then it goes into the 'fancy high speed camera sort of scenes' for 3 minutes. (BEST 3 minutes, in my opinion) It's kind of like Fast and furious 5 where they introduce the members in the 'team'. Anyways, I loved it, especially the beginning (like i've been saying for this whole review)the plot was interesting, and (SPOILER: some of the 'sisters' do die despite their awesome kung-fu skills) but i didn't feel sad, maybe because with so many of the 'main characters' (there are 9 or 10 sisters/main characters) the film can't focus exactly too deeply on one character. I'd recommend you to check this out, (at least from 8 minutes in the movie to around 11 minutes to see that epic shoot- which is quite cheesy) but it is one of those action/fighting movies so if your interested you should watch it :)
Let's get this out of the way first of all: LEGENDARY AMAZONS has
nothing to do with Amazons at all; instead, it's a fairly
straightforward and normal-for-the-genre Chinese historical war film
about a legendary band of warrior women who are forced into going to
war to battle an invading army. It's colourful stuff for sure, packed
with unrealistic but cool-looking costumes and plentiful action;
indeed, at least 70% of the film seems to be made up of one fight scene
after the next, all aided with wirework and CGI effects that keep
characters and weapons flying all over the place.
Here's the unusual bit: LEGENDARY AMAZONS also happens to be one of the cheesiest films I've seen in a while. Chinese historicals are usually po-faced and deadly serious, like with THREE KINGDOMS or BATTLE OF WITS. Not so this film: the script is leaden and the performances so awful and self-conscious that they veer on self-parody. The worst offender is the absolutely diabolical Cecilia Cheung, who takes woodenness to new levels; apparently she's a big actress over in the East, but you wouldn't know it from her scene-chewing here.
Still, despite (or maybe because of) all the unintentional humour, LEGENDARY AMAZONS turns out to be a whole lot of fun. The virtually non-stop action helps, of course, but as a whole the film has a light and vibrant feel that keeps it sweeping merrily along. It's certainly not a classic, and by genre standards it's pretty poor, but is it entertaining? The answer is a resounding 'yes'! It's a riot, and one I look forward to seeing again in the future.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Finally! After the glut of big-budget historical war epics that have seen tears and bloodshed, at last we get one that injects some levity into the heavy-handed genre. Yes, there is humour aplenty in director Frankie Chan's latest take on the classic 'Lady Warriors of the Yang Family', apparently titled 'Legendary Amazons' as a nod to the Shaw Brothers 1972 movie 'The 14 Amazons'- and if you're thinking how such a story would lend itself to comedy, wait till you've seen this adaptation. A prologue establishes the war between the Song Dynasty and the Western Xia Dynasty, the former led by General Yang Zongbao (Ritchie Jen) outnumbered against the latter's troops launching a fiercely fought border incursion. Facing imminent death, General Yang ties a bundle of hair to a pigeon and sends it off to his wife Mu Guiying (Cecilia Cheung). How ingeniously amusing! What are the odds that a bundle of Mu's hair carried on the pigeon would be a message of defeat? And what are the odds that the Xia enemies would have on hand a pair of eagles that is, we may add, too quickly shot down as soon as they are released to catch the said pigeon? It gets even better- as news of Zongbao's apparent death spreads around the Yang family clan, with nary a man except for Zongbao and Guiying's son Yang Wenguang (Xiao Mingyu), the whole gathering of women gathered for his 18th birthday celebration start weeping uncontrollably as if on cue. Then, just as quickly, it is decided that the wilful Wenguang- whose earlier childish act of blowing up a wall in the house compound just to get out- will be appointed to lead the Yangs, and with that, fireworks start exploding into the night sky. What a brilliant show of over-the-top humour! But nothing can quite prepare you for the hilarity as the Yang clan set off to war in obedience of the imperial edict. The first confrontation finds the Yangs outnumbered against their enemies, splitting into five separate divisions to divide up their enemy and hopefully defeat them guerrilla-style. Their tactic is ultimately undone when the reckless Wenguang gets duped by the Xia's into saving his father- but even before you chuckle at his foolishness, you'll find yourself tickled silly as his mother Muiying challenges him right on the sideline and usurps his status as marshal. Somehow, we never recalled the family fighting amongst themselves as a centrepiece of their heroism, but hey it makes for good amusement. Just as comical is the Yang women's defiance of gravity, leaping into the air and performing some quite marvellous stunts that they can very well parlay into lucrative public entertainment after the war. We have Frankie and old-school villain actor Fung Hak-On to thank for that, with some generous help no doubt from Jet Li's master Wu Bin credited as 'kungfu consultant'. No kidding! We were however unable to identify who was responsible for the numerous heroic deaths we witnessed throughout the film, because we'd like to thank that person for the hilariously fake blood spurting out and the exaggerated dying. Inspired too is the casting of the film. Lead actress Cecilia Cheung, who was reportedly paid a cool NTD$30 million to star, has a heretofore unknown gift of acting shocked that will make you burst out laughing. You have to also hand it to the filmmakers for assembling such a professional cast of actors- including veterans Ritchie, Ge Chunyan, Yukari Oshima and Kathy Chow- who are able to keep such straight serious faces in spite of the hilarious mayhem unfolding before them. When you're having so much fun, you probably won't be bothered by the messy and quite incoherent script (written by Frankie, Liu Heng and Ma Honglu) that can't quite make up its mind if certain characters- wounded or killed- should stay that way. And here we would like to ask for your pardon for our insolence thus far- it's probably clear to you that we were being sarcastic all the way, but we thought comedy must have been the sole intention of the filmmakers going by how atrocious the film really is. If you have to know, it's histrionic, over-the-top and melodramatic every step of the way. The acting is equally ridiculous, with Cecilia taking the cake for being quite possibly in line for the worst actress of the year. And what of the plentiful action scenes? They are, like the script, chaotic and illogical- worse still when you can so evidently tell the green screen behind which their landscapes were filled in. We'll leave you with quite possibly one of the most ridiculous scenes we've seen this year- a makeshift bridge assembled with two chains of metal shot from one end of a cliff to another with human steps made up of soldiers on their backs clinging onto both chains, all for the sake of their Empress Dowager-like commander Taijun (Cheng Peipei) to get across. Need a good laugh? Then we'd recommend 'Legendary Amazons', one of the most unintentionally laugh-out-loud movies you'll find this year. At least it makes a genre breakthrough by showing how you can do comedy in the midst of a big-budget historical war epic.
This is a pretty bad movie with some crappy acting and story. I am not
sure if it's intentional or not but the whole thing just comes off
humorous, especially because of the acting. The story is nothing
interesting just men warriors losing a battle and women warriors
picking up arms to fight in their husbands place. The whole movie is a
cheese fest, even the action is super cheesy and looks so
fake...Although it's entertaining to watch. Watching the fight
sequences is like watching someone play "Dynasty Warriors". The only
thing that makes this movie watchable is the fight sequences even if
their is no logic when it comes to physics and cheesy. Which might work
if it's a comedic kung-fu movie that doesn't take itself seriously but
has a cleverly integrated plot. But that isn't the case for this movie
and when it tries to integrate some story into it. I was like "okay
this is boring and dull, lets get back to the cheesy action". I am not
fond of Cecilia Chung these days as an actress and she is pretty bad in
this movie. There is quite a lot of characters in this movie but they
are so underdeveloped I didn't care who lives or who dies. As a matter
of fact I wasn't quite sure which character was dying or fighting even
though some dramatic movie plays with other characters weeping or have
the sad face. Just watch for the cheesy action scenes and not the story
or the acting and you might be fine watching this.
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