In the Ming dynasty of China, Shen Lian (starring Chang Chen), a secret police of corrupt government, is trapped by the conspiracy on a mission. To prove the innocence, he seeks the truth with a girl called Bei Zhai (starring Yang Mi).
I apologize in advance for the subpar quality of my writing in this particular review, but I needed the better part of three bottles of wine just to get through this mess. If I had known ahead of time what was in store, I would have shelved the wine and gone straight for the whiskey.
Anyway, this film takes four great fighters with multiple championships under their belts (some of them world-level), and yet instead focusing on their skills and making an entertaining martial arts film, 75% of the film is dedicated to giving you an aneurysm.
-There is no focal point to the story (and I use the word "story" very loosely"), and the characters have no personality except for their sentence-long introduction during the opening credits.
-There are these random jumps in time with no indication or explanation, so every time you're left confused for a few moments as you figure out if this is a flashback or a sudden fast-forward or something else. I guess they are trying to be edgy or whatever here, but all it does is destroy what little pacing the story has.
-Most of the movie just doesn't make any sense. If you're a mine owner on the cusp of expansion, and your long-time partner/human resources guy voices a concern that many of the workers are exhausted and not as productive, why would you respond by slaughtering the whole lot of them (while losing about a dozen guards in the process as well) and burning down your own building that you used to house them? Why does the main goon rip his shirt off and stands in front of the burning wreckage for a solid minute, screaming and flexing his biceps?
-The most annoying thing for me personally was the blood splatter effect. And I do mean splatter, as the slightest wound would send a veritable geyser onto the screen. I'm not sure if they were trying to emulate the style of Sin City (the black and white combat scenes with accented blood is a possibility) or 300 (the whole hyper-violence and blood geysers thing), but it falls lightyears short. The effect basically looks like some of the earlier Doom video games. That, or they just drew it directly onto the print with a red sharpie.
I blame this abortion on the fact that pretty much the entire art design/direction team (including the director himself) share the same surname. It is clear to me that this family of monsters akin to those hill-dwelling mutants, except watching this film is a far more brutal experience than even mutant-hillbilly rape.
In summation, I would rather get kicked in the nuts by the entire U.S. soccer team rather than watch a minute of this film again. The Hor family needs to be stopped. I would prefer a public execution (hey, maybe we could use their weird method of hanging you from bamboo with a blood drain in your neck), but I'll accept neutering so they cannot propagate their cursed bloodline.
Now where's that bottle?
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