I was probably more biased towards liking this movie than anything else this year. Sure, the idea of The Avengers, a new Ridley Scott Alien movie, the final Nolan Bat movie, and a new Bond flick all got me twitching with excitement at the beginning of the year, but an honest to god kung fu flick in the style of Chang Cheh's work at the Shaw Brothers? Anybody who knows me knows that is 100% my kind of movie.
Reaction to the actual flick? Mildly disappointed.
- This is a surprisingly pretty film to look at. Credit to the Cinematographer Chan Chi Ying for making one beautifully sumptuous looking kung fu flick.
- It's funny, at least as funny as a wonderfully bad old chop socky picture.
- You can tell RZA was filled with creative ideas for the weapons, characters, and locations.
- The opening and closing credits are my absolute favorite things I've seen in a theater this year.
- Like all the great old school kung fu flicks, it may know everything happening is completely ridiculous, but it takes it seriously. To clarify, it doesn't make a joke of the character's names, the crazy weapons or hair, and the insane plot.
Not So Much:
- The acting in this flick ranges from delightfully fun (Russel Crowe), to servicable (Lucy Liu) to bland as shit (Unfortunately, RZA and most of the other cast)
- For what's obviously supposed to be a big Shaw Brothers Kung Fu Chop Socky Homage, there really isn't much kung fu. You know what, I'll be less specific with that comment, there really isn't much action in general.
- The plot is going in 15 different directions at all times.
- The pacing is pretty messy.
- When you have one of the absolute best Action Choreographers working today, like Corey Yuen, you don't hide his amazing work by shooting at awkward angles and editing it to hell.
- When RZA initially chopped the movie, it was 4 hours long. This final movie is 95 minutes. You cut that much out of any movie and it's not gonna be too pretty.
Basically, for a movie that should have been an absurd, fun, instant cult classic, it ends up being just a bit dull. This flick, like The Spy Who Loved Me, never lived up to it's opening. That doesn't mean don't watch it my any means, it's a matinee movie, something to watch with a bunch of friends before your actual plans for the evening. Let's just hope we get a real director's cut dvd.
Final Score: 6/10