In the early 1600's, the Manchurians have taken over sovereignty of China and established the Ching Dynasty. While many nationalist revolts still brew within the martial artists' community, the newly set-up government immediately imposes a Martial Arts Ban, forbidding the practice of martial arts altogether in order to gain control and order. Wind Fire (Sun Hong-Lei), a surrendered military official from the previous dynasty, sees this as an opportunity to make a fortune for himself by helping to execute the new law. Greedy, cruel, and immoral, Wind Fire ravages the North-western China, and his next goal is to attack the final frontier, Martial Village. Fu Qingzhu, a retired executioner from the previous dynasty, feels the need to put a stop to this brutality and sets out to save Bowei Fortress. He brings Wu Yuanyin and Han Zhiban from the village with him to Mount Heaven to seek help from Master Shadow-Glow, a hermit who is a master of swords and leads a group of disciples of great ...Written by
Tsui Hark's 'Chat Gim' is visually wonderful. The breathtaking and landscape, the beautiful set design and colourful frame, the brilliant composition of images, the mesmerizing cinematography and skilled editing superbly come together. Hark parallel's good vs evil and beautiful vs awful very well. He clearly takes his inspiration from the masterworks of Kurosawa (even though this film is an adaptation) and, in my opinion, produces something better than the likes of Ang Lee's overrated 'Wo Hu Cang Long'.
The only minor drawback, I'd say, is that the story is not anything new and it is not as impactive as Kurosawa's work. Then again, Hark manages to bring his own style and give it a unique presentation and 'Chat Gim' by no means is pretentious piece of work. The subplots fit well together and the characters are interesting. Perhaps a few could have been further developed? However, the actors do an adequate job. The fight scenes are not too many but they're appropriately set within the context of the story. They are very well choreographed and do not look over the top as is the case in many films ('Wo Hu Cang Long' being an example of such). Unlike other films of this genre, this one is very human.
It's a bit funny how I got hold of the DVD. My brother owned it and I was teasing him that I'll take the DVD and keep it (he gets very irritated when I do that) and to my surprise he told me that I can have it. Now I'm glad I get to keep the film. Hark put a lot of heart in the making of this beautiful film. It's certainly one of the better films from the Wuxia genre (one of the best I've seen so far). It's not only visually pleasing, it has a heart of gold :).
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this