Here's another one you'll forget
I watched this movie back in 2016 initially. My copy was in four parts with resolution so poor I thought Chang Ching-Ching was Doris Lung Chun-Erh. I recently found a better copy. Now I am looking at the entire movie in one section with screen resolution similar to an Ocean Shores VHS. The subtitles look like a fan addition. It starts with two guards overcome by a sleep spell so their prisoner can be exchanged for a double. He is Eunuch Guo played by Yi Yuan. He kills a few people to confirm his role of the villain. Yi Yuan certainly looks like a villain and I cannot recall any movie he played otherwise. Next a messenger is killed for his message about official Li. A mysterious hero has been following this development. Chang Ching-Ching also comes along and the dying messenger tells her the backstory while she stands there without providing any kind of first aid for his injuries. The message is taken to their boss. Our hero was following them and soon is surrounded for a fight. He ends up with a poison dart in his chest. The princess hides him in her room and treats the poison with a personal touch. Cut to Official Lil's palanquin is attacked. Ching-Ching arrives too late to save him but she gets papers proving the prince's rebellion. She must deliver them to her father but he is killed in the next scene. She and a mystery man arrive at a large tea house and are ambushed. She confronts him about his identity. He avoids answering by jumping off a cliff. He is rescued by the princess kung fu master. Love blossoms. Most of the fights are brawls with swords. The crowds and close ups and quick cuts keep the focus on a flurry of activity so the lack of finesse is not noticeable. I have noticed in movies like this is it more important not to do the action badly. The movie can cruise along with a passable action sequence but a bad action sequence seems to create a debt to the audience that must be paid back. If it is not repaid, the entire movie can get judged by that one bad act. At about 56 minutes in there is an ambitious set piece with a rope bridge. Using the physical elements of the set to add to the fight choreography was an element of the new wave of martial arts movies that began in the late 1980s with actors like Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Maybe I am giving the bridge too much credit here but it was something different in an otherwise by the numbers movie. Overall I cannot rate this movie any more than a bowl of white rice plain and average for the year and genre. Now that I was finally able to give it a proper viewing and write a review I am done and doubt I will ever watch it again.
- Mar 12, 2019
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