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Ying Xiong (Hero) August 27, 2006

Posted by Sai in English, Mandarin, Movies, Reviews.
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Visually, this is the most mesmerizing movie that I have ever seen (it was said to be the most expensive Chinese film at the time). The action sequences are breathtaking and are more like choreographed dance sequences. The action sequences (Siu-Tung Ching also known as Tony Ching Siu-Tung) combine together with the beautiful costumes (Emi Wada), colors, sets (Tingxiao Huo, Bin Zhao), special effects, cinematography (Christopher Doyle), framing and direction (Zhang Yimou, who later made the similarly stunning House of Flying Daggers in the same genre) to create what I would call visual poetry. The first time I caught this movie in Mandarin at the theatre, I was so stunned that I forgot to read the subtitles for a while. I can watch this movie multiple times even without any sound and still gape at every frame.

The story (supposedly inspired from history) is about a king in ancient China who is trying to unite the warring kingdoms into one and assasins who are after his life. This movie is not really about the story or plot but the Rashomon like narrative works as an excellent placeholder that allows for many things other than taking the story forward. Those who are looking primarily for a story might find this a slow moving film but will be excited by the multiple viewpoints (if they haven’t seen Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon yet). These viewers might find the story, emotions and depth in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon more pleasing compared to this movie.

Zhang Yimou (who apparently started out as a cinematographer) makes use of different color schemes and choreographed action with different styles and settings for each retelling of the story. My favorite action scenes include the one between the men at the lake and the one between the women in the forest among the leaves. I could go on and on describing the beauty of each sequence but I won’t. Those looking for a story, conventional entertainment and fast paced action can avoid this movie but if you have the habit of enjoying the visual appeal of a movie, don’t miss this dazzling extravaganza.

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Comments»

1. Shujath - March 10, 2007

I just couldn’t take my eyes off watching this one. Only after the movie ends I actually realized that there wasn’t really much of a plot but somehow I felt I was watching a thriller. Perfect example of how visual aesthetics can transform a movie.

2. rekha - April 24, 2007

Hi, I have an interest in acting and dubbing voice, given a chance, I will try my level best,


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