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Stunning visuals spoiled by cheap camera tricks and a flawed script.
on 15 June 2009
I didn't plan on writing a review for this product but wanting to see what other people had said I had a look and thought that this film needed a constructive review. however I am very tired so I'm not sure if that's what you will get! but hey! I will try!
The visuals in this film are quite breathtaking and simply stunning to look at, the cinematographer has certainly got it spot on, as with most of these films, and for me, this is what kept me watching the film after I realized that the plot wasn't going to get any better.
I am all for fantasy martial arts, ala crouching tiger, the flying on rooftops etc doesn't bother me, (I just pretend it is an ancient kung fu style) however this film was too a little too silly for my liking, and there were also too many plot-holes and certain aspects didn't fit, for example the main female character of the movie ends up falling for the "prince" that she is escorting, (trust me I haven't spoiled anything for you, it was obvious) however there is nothing to like about him, he is not good looking, there is no chemistry between them, he doesn't do anything that would make her like or even love him, it just doesn't fit? when you are watching "house of flying daggers" their love is believable, I know that sounds corny, but it's true, and that's why it had an impact on me, (I still cry every time I watch it!) but the love in this film is rather weak and non-convincing, as a result the film falls apart for me, because if you don't believe that she loves him or he indeed loves her back, then the reasoning behind their actions doesn't make sense.
Another thing that annoyed me or rather ruined the film for me was the way the bad guys just sprung up out of no-where, for example in one scene, they had fled the baddies and were in some underwater cavern type place and woah and behold the bad guy springs up out of the water to fight them! It was so stupid I wanted to turn it off there and then. Or there are times when the baddies are waiting for them on ahead etc.
I think the main problem with the baddies is that there is no tension built up, instead of biting your nails and feeling pannicked, your just like, "oh, there's another bad guy" it's just that simple.
Then the fight scenes, ah the fight scenes, well I wouldn't call them that, rather cheat scenes, instead of seeing some fine choreographed artistry what we get are a multitude of camera angles, that constantly change to give the impression of action, and some extreme close-ups of...wait for it...A FOOT CHANGING POSITION! WOW! or...wait for it...A HEAD TURN! amazing! it does get annoying after a while...
The film definitely looks stylish and has an expensive quality feel to it, but it's definitely a case of style over substance, there is nothing moving or deep about it although it tries to be, you may have been looking at "the restless" or "the promise" if you are looking at this, and with those films at least we know they are fantasy and are not taking themselves too seriously so they tend to get away with the style over substance thing, but as this wants to be a serious and epical film it just doesn't cut it. there's nothing there, it's like buying a hot dog, but finding there's no meat in the middle when you take a bite.
Get it if you want to see for yourself or just to take in the lush visuals, maybe if you haven't seen any other wuxia film then you'll like it more, but when there are films such as house of flying daggers, curse of the golden flower, hero, etc out there then you really don't need to bother with this.
Also check out the warlords that's pretty good, and An empress and a warlord, (something along those lines) looks decent but I haven't watched it yet, will review it when I have!
Thanks for reading. x