Being somewhat of a junkie for early martial arts and Asian adventure films, it's always a fascinating experience to get your hands into something completely new to you, of what you have no clue of beforehand. In some cases you can find a hidden gem, however in many cases you can really understand why the film has made it into the list of the forgotten ones. Now I can thank Fusian Films for seeing this apparently quite rare early Wu Xia effort on DVD, although again the question rises, was this really worth saving from total obscurity?
Bloodthirsty brothers and a sister (our main villain) of Five Flower Sect murder a government official who is one of the men behind the death of their father. From the wholesale slaughter of their family only the official's son survives, who in turn swears to avenge his loved ones and bring down the rest of the sect. So does the young man start his perilous journey to seek out eccentric super-fighter Master Ou, who can help him in achieving his goals.
Again revolving around the theme of vengeance repeatedly used in the films of the genre, Absurd Brave blends some slapstick comedy in the mix, even stylistically hinting towards the traditional ghost stories for a brief moment. Still, being the comedy at times intentional and in many cases unintentional, it nearly constantly borders the Turkey Territory. Film's pacing is quite OK, but the rhythm does not work and the story feels sloppy. Apparently many things were left open for the future adventures of Master Oh and his new apprentice. Did they make any, that I don't know.
The acting is mostly wooden or way over the top, nearly all of it in a bad way. Most of the intentional comes from the character of Master Oh, who is completely off the wall with his ridiculous looking glasses, sheep skin coat and enormous knobbed pipe. (Ahem. Subtlety? Noooo, we don't need that. Phallic symbolism, anyone?) The laughs are cheap, although admittedly they can make you chuckle for few times.
And then the battle scenes... oh boy. Of course, Absurd Brave has filmed before tightly choreographed Kung Fu driven films invaded the scene, but even for the swashbuckling variety, the fights look criminally sluggish and lack all tension. As if this is not enough, they just have to use good old 'let's show the film backwards' and 'if we speed this up, it looks insanely fast' techniques, both of them badly.
Few nice ideas, a blend of and experimenting on few different approaches and passable story prevents this vehicle from totally sinking. Still, it's too sloppy to be truly entertaining Wu Xia adventure, but not sloppy enough to be good turkey entertainment. Worth a peek for Wu Xia enthusiasts who seek some curiosity values on a very boring, rainy Sunday with nothing better to do.
This is my truth. What is yours?
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