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Americans will yawn or laugh this sci fi off the screen, for the most part, but if you dig Andy Lau in Future Cops (1993), or you're a 6 yr old Power Ranger, you should dig this spectacle. The plot is an overlong, unengaging mess. I was'nt able to cease all brain activity, kick back and enjoy hard hitting action sequences which I do in most good Chinese action films. While the special effects are not up to the Hollywood standard and far from reasonably convincing, it can be a teeny bit entertaining if you appreciate how far Hollywood has come. Hong Kong used to be seen as the home of unintentionally comical chop-socky movies of interest only to kung-fu freaks and those who like to day dream about kicking some bully's a--. While that's not a fair assessment of that country's current output, it's not a totally undeserved one concerning its past. So it made a refreshing change to see that Hong Kong – along with other Asian countries – had begun producing stylish wuxia, biopics, and energetic efforts like Yip Man, Bodyguards and Assassins, and The Banquet. Sadly, I don't think they're quite ready to stray off from that if they're going to introduce their films to the rest of the world.
The film's first big action sequence provides a weak mix of 'futuristic plot holes' and bad 'character development', all of which threaten to scupper the entire project until a potential surprise that goes for the heartstrings, which is why I gave it 2 pts. I did read somewhere that Wong claims sci-fi was never his goal, and that he was trying to tell a moving and emotional story. Strange mix? I'll say. To fully enjoy it, (whispers...) make sure to turn a blind eye on the special effects, seriously. The visual effects by Korean VFX house Kinomotive are hilariously awful, managing the same effectiveness as Wong Jing's The Wesley's Mysterious File, which came out a full eight years ago. Surprisingly, Wong Jing's skills with CGI has not improved in 8 yrs. Neither has his storytelling or directing ~by bluepeas
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