Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Written by John Woo, Khan Chan, Cheng Kuo, Heyu Sheng, Guanzhong Luo (book)
Directed by John Woo
Starring Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Fengyi Zhang, Special appearance by Mila Teves dressed as an old chinamen
History-approximating story of two factions battling for independence and dominance in China a few hundred years ago
i enjoyed our viewing of this movie. it was a little hard to follow in the beginning and the english introduction threw us all kinds of off and we kept trying to put it in mandarin and thought the disc was not working properly, but no, it was all good. it was so distracting, however, that i didn't fully pay attention to it. maybe that's why i had problems following the plot in the beginning. so if you watch this it is not dubbed. i guess the english part is intentional.
there was this great mixture of over the top kung fu movie style blood/fighting, and a believable war epic. strategy stuff intrigues me. i am not a good strategist. i can't think three steps ahead. i can't anticipate others actions because i am to involved in my own brain. sometimes this movie and the direction/ editing got a little too caught up in itself too. there were parts were i think one if not both of us uttered "ok, we get it" or "that was a little much" but those are my only negative criticisms. the story kept me involved and held my attention. i think i even stopped knitting halfway through to devote my whole focus at what was going on.
i want to know why netflix does not have the sequel available.
This was kind of exactly worth the time. It could have been a little more in some places, and a little less in others.
Despite the confused frustration around the language settings, it was a good experience. It shows that John Woo can still direct a movie and it was nice to see that movie be a Chinese movie about Chinese people and starring Chinese actors. There are plenty of beautiful shots of idyllic countrysides, most of which end up trodden or mangled by human carnage. The story is pretty linear, though some of the secondary characters grow; and no character acts contrary to how we think they would. I was happy that while there was a woman in the story she wasn't the reason for the fighting; she was just one dude's girlfriend / wife. She was a great spy and tactician in her own right. There were a few (secondary) female characters like that, which was a nice touch.
I don't know how closely this is supposed to be based on history. I did have some problems with some of the politicking and some of the battle setups. The level of complexity rode a wave from "too broad" to "I don't want to try to figure that out," with enough stops closer to the middle of the scale to keep my eyes reading most of the subtitles. The battles themselves tended to be quite elaborate, and I think that detracted from some of the more personal touches.
I'm rambling; I don't really have a conclusion for this one. Subtitles, action set pieces, honor and betrayal and Lincoln-esque tactics. If enough of those keywords resonate in your skull, watch this movie