This is a superb film. Considering it came out at a horribly time (historically speaking for China) I would say this is a really fantastic piece. It's pre-wire-fu so it's all acrobatics and quick footwork for wow factor (with maybe a hidden trampoline or two) and has a lot of good details that make it stand out a LOT from other films of its time including a lot of the ones made even today. Here's a few to consider:
-Setting is great in that it really looks desolate, back drops are epic, everything's gritty and dirty rather than overly bright like a lot of this film's contemporary opera based counterparts. -Fighting styles are unique and consistent across different characters. -Weapons techniques aren't all fancy dodges (though obviously there's a lot of that), but include a lot of kill blows where weapons obviously smash pretty hard against things in the background (ice, wood, stones, etc). -Fights are all exciting because they're contextual, with the heroes winning by the skin of their teeth or whole handedly according to the situation. It's not like a lot of films where it's always massively one sided. -You know how usually most films have a lot of extras blindly and uselessly flailing weapons at each other like dumb mooks as the main characters actually fight? EACH AND EVERY FIGHT features EVERYONE fighting at LEAST one other person and looking like they're actually trying. It's obvious the PRC pulled out all the stops and got great people for even the background guys.
Film wise there are a lot of pluses too:
-Lots of background for even the side characters is implied and a whole martial arts community is alluded to when random background characters show up multiple times. -Story is compelling, and good insight to all the characters' thought processes (even if their stories are a bit bare) is always present. The development is decent too. -Story is complex in terms of emotional build up, traumas, mysteries, plot twists, etc. -Thematically it's also pretty well layered with bits of Machiavelli, realistic feudalism, the hardships of common people, and the viciousness of power struggles.
Bonus, the actor who played the main character died recently, but apparently he was actually pretty bad assed as a swordsman up until he was pretty decrepit. Check out his moves!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this