4 February 2006 | sm22281
Interesting View of China's Silk Road in 700 A.D.
This is not a Kung Fu action movie, so those looking for fight scenes will be disappointed. It is a thrilling story of two warrior knights acting under their own sense of honor and called to action in circumstances beyond their control, against the backdrop of the turbulent and multi-cultural Silk Road. China being the vast country it is has birthed many such thrilling adventures of wandering warriors, itinerant mercenaries, Buddhist monks and pretty maidens. Think of romance or adventure novels based on the Middle Ages! The thrill of the story is to watch the two warriors meeting, one supposedly as the imperial agent sent to eliminate the renegade and intent on his mission, the other as the free agent warrior trying to live a life according to his own personal code of honor. When the two of them unite to fight hordes of greedy bandits, we see hand to hand combat, pursuits on horseback and sieges of a fort.
The unusual angles in this movie, for most movie goers, comes from the time and place: the warriors are from 700 A.D, a T'ang Dynasty era. The location is in the far western reaches of China and the locales are not traditionally "Chinese". The landscapes change from mountainous to woodsy to desert. There are thrilling scenes of camel caravans and desert towns and forts. The protagonists wear battle gear and the long hair of that period, which remind me vividly of French and English knights and crusaders of that era! The final siege of the desert fort reminds of the male warrior bonding in desperado scenes like in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"; or the "Alamo"; or the "Three Musketeers".
The Buddhist relic transported by the caravan reminds me of the Catholic relics from dead saints found in many mystery or adventure stories based on the Middle Ages. The finale reminds me of the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when the bad guys seem to be on the edge of acquiring the treasure, only to be annihilated, leaving some of the good guys to move on...
It is great entertainment and gives one yet another view of the Chinese culture about warriors of its complex past.