In Theaters Now
While this movie played over two years ago overseas and has been available on DVD in the U.S. for two years, we now get to see this awesome epic in all of its wide-screen splendor on the big screen in American theaters, thanks to Quinten Tarentino who is one of the presenters of the film.
I’m a long-time Jet Li fan and like his contemporaries Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and John Claude Van Damme he came up through the ranks of lower budget Kung Fu fighting films and eventually into the mainstream of things.
If you didn’t like “Crouching Tiger” very much, you probably won’t like this outstanding film. Especially because it’s subtitled and it’s cut from the same mold.
It is the story about assassins who are out to kill what they perceive to be an evil King who wages war on other provinces in the vast Asian expanse we now call China.
Beautifully shot in China with thousands of Chinese extras all dressed in amour from a time long ago when Feudal lords existed in the region.
It’s a sword fighting movie with a point, but I’m not going to tell you what the point is anymore than I’d tell someone the punch line from “The Crying Game.”
The fighting sequences, as in Crouching Tiger and the Matrix series, border on the fanciful, with fighters sailing through the air, walking on water, bouncing off tree tops. This is probably due to the nature of Chinese legends and the “Hero” is meant to be this kind of a larger than life adventure.
We also see the characters and what they do played differently as perspectives changes, lies become half-truths and those new lies become final truths. Yes, this film is very cerebral, but you will get your Kung Fu kicks out of it big time!
There’s on sequence where 7 Royal Guardsman goes up against on chess playing outlaw assassin and he trounces on all of them, leaving them standing with bent swords and tarnished honor.
Our Hero takes on the assassin and defeats him. This allows him to get within 20 paces of the King during his Royal visit to obtain the monarch’s thanks and rewards.
Our Hero then takes on two more assassins, a man and woman who are loves, and vanquishes them, allowing him to get 10 paces from the King.
Maybe you’re starting to see the point of this swashbuckling tale, then again maybe you aren’t!
Yes, this review is very cerebral!
There’s even a sequence that made me think of Jesus (especially since as of this writing “The Passion of the Christ” came out in DVD which I just picked up) with the Royal Court shouting “execute, execute” much like those in the Roman court shouting, “crucify, crucify!”
The arrow sequences were amazing, as were all the troops the director mustered as extras (and I don’t think he had much help from Industrial Light and Magic to clone all those people like they did in “Star Wars II” or “The Scorpion King” or the “Return of the Mummy”).
This is one very excellent Kung Fu Sword Fighting, Larger Than Life Fantasy Tale of an astonishing “Hero”! Well worth seeing on the big screen. Well acted. Well photographed. Well written. Well staged.
The Village. One of our moviegoers caught this and said: “Bomb!”
Anchorman. Lance said “it’s kind of funny in a stupid way.”
Coming Soon To Theaters
TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE. From the creators of South Park comes an adult puppet film inspired by Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds (the original, not the current one, which was a bomb of a live action movie remake that just left theaters moments after it arrived). In fact, the demo project was done with new dialog recorded over an old Thunderbirds episode, which served as the model (if you’ll excuse the express) for this elaborate and original puppet film that will be coming to theaters shortly! This one is not for the kiddies and includes a very graphic puppet sex scene!
The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie (oh, this had better be good!).
LADDER 49 Starring John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix. Based upon what we saw this is like “Backdraft” without the bad guy fireman doing evil deeds. A straightforward look at the crazy lives of firefighters on the East Coast.
SHARK TALE Starring the voices of Will Smith and Robert DeNiro. In the mold of Shrek, Finding Nemo and the Lion King. An animated fish tale.
Flight of the Phoenix starring Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi, and Miranda Otto. We liked the original. It had an outstanding case including Jimmy Stewart, Ernest Borgnine and Richard Attenborough with outstanding direction from Robert Aldrich. Don’t know about this one yet!
THE AVAITOR starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani, Cate Blanchett, Jude Law, and Kate Beckinsale.
Directed by Martin Scorsese this film is about young Howard Hughes (DiCaprio). Based on the previews we saw, this looks very promising! Scorsese usually never disapoints.
BLADE: TRINITY Starring Wesley Snipes and Jessica Biel. Need we say more? If you saw one and two you will probably see three!
OCEAN'S 12 Starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt. One of our reviewers really liked Ocean’s 11 (both the Clooney and the Rat Pack versions) so this one may have promise.
Maybe Never Coming To Theaters
Tom Cruise’s MI3, which would be the third outing. The writer of MI2 left this project (he wanted to direct another project). The director who attempted to put this one on screen left the project.
We assume the plot revolves around a super star actor who’s trying to get a franchise going but all the talented people around him keep leaving. You’re mission, should you decide to accept it, is to get a good scrip, find a good director and actually make MI3!
Camcorders 2004 | Capture Cards 2004 | HD-DVD
From our archives we have these articles from the 2002 Issues: