Dian zi ge men zhan shi (1998)

Action, Sci-Fi


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13 November 2015 | The_Phantom_Projectionist
| "I've been sent by Mars to rescue you"
I really, really wanted to enjoy this movie. TECHNO WARRIORS has been on my to-watch list for years, and I anticipated fun things from its great cast and unique look. However, what I got was a purely mediocre presentation, even though the film gave itself ample opportunities for redemption. While the most casual viewer may yet have fun with this, I can't recommend it to anyone other than hardcore fans of the involved parties.

The story: In a digitally-dominated future, fantasy becomes reality as the characters of a fighting game attempt to draw an expert player (Nino Muhlbach) into the digital realm to gain supremacy of their world.

The first thing I find fault with in the movie is the plot. The film opens with an entirely different conflict, wherein individuals who do not know how to operate computers are criminalized by cyber police, with the first action scenes taking place on deserted city streets because most people no longer have the need to leave their homes. This is a world that I would love to have seen explored, and even though the computer environments can look quite interesting at times, the storyline's level of convolution limits my interest in the characters. Complex relationships between vaguely-defined characters with intricate backstories fail to intrigue at all, and oddly, nobody seems particularly surprised at video game characters taking physical form and fighting people, or people being able to enter the video game world.

The excellent fighting cast includes Monsour Del Rosario, Tamara Guo, Winston Ellis, director Phillip Ko, and Darren Shahlavi in one of his final Hong Kong roles prior to IP MAN 2. While all of these performers look great in their flashy costumes, their opportunities to perform dramatically are limited and their ample opportunities to perform physically are sabotaged by very disagreeable styles of choreography and editing. The latter is the bigger problem, as the fights are presented too rapidly for the viewer to fully appreciate, but aside from a noticeable reliance on kicking over every other fighting technique and a little too much wirework for my taste, it's difficult to find one brawl out of the 20 that is not frequently interrupted by the characters hurling animated projectiles at each other.

Stylistically, the film is a cross between MORTAL KOMBAT and POWER RANGERS, but it's presented in a manner that fails to make the most out of the potential overload of coolness. To be certain, there *is* an overload, but it's an overload of information and visual stimuli: there is too much you are expected to follow in way of the story and fighting. Those viewers who do not immediately dismiss the film as B-movie cheese may find this a chore to watch.

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Action | Sci-Fi


Release Date:

9 December 1998


English, Filipino, Mandarin, Tagalog

Country of Origin

Hong Kong, Philippines

Filming Locations

Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

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