15 November 2014 | athena-no-sainto
Great story, very well made
Directed by one of the best directors of Hong Kong cinema industry, Wong Jing and starred by one of his favorite actors, the charismatic Chow Yun fat, who adds a new memorable performance to her legendary career,and wrapped by a cast full of stars such as Francis Ng and the legendary Sammo Hung and new rising stars as Xiaoming Huang, who amazing portraying the younger version of Chow Yun fat, literally becoming in him, and completing the cast with the talented and beautiful Quan Yuan, Li Yuan and Monica Mok. This film has overcame all my expectations becoming into one of my favorites from it's director, I love every photo gram from it and I dare to consider it a masterpiece.
The film tells the story of the rise to the power of Cheng Daiqi in the crime world in the Sanghai from the 30's and his impossible love story with Zhiqiu, a young girl who dreams in become in a famous opera singer, something that is forbidden for her, it also tells the efforts of Daiqi to defend Sanghai from the Japanese invasion.
The film pass through many different genres from melodrama, gangster cinema, action and romance, being divided in two parts.
In the first part of the film Wong Jing, using flashbacks, tells the humble origins of the main character and the his love story, using masterly camera movements and travelings to take the audience in a travel through time, accompanied by a beautiful photography by Andrew Lau and a wonderful score that is a key factor in the most important moments of the story to excite the audience.
scenes as the one in which a young Daiqi, played by Xaoming Hua, arrives to Sanghai and stares at the biggest building to the city trying to see the end of it where the camera ascends until the last floor in which an older Daiqi, played by Yun Fat, is contemplating the whole city and the later scene in which a traveling shows a young Daiqi sitting in front of his men just after become in the right hand of the crime boss in Sanghai, played by a great Sammo Hung, the then after the traveling become in the adult version of the character played by Chow Yun Fat, is a perfect and perfect visual exercise that unifies in a masterly way the past and the present of the story and the character.
The first act of the story ends with the spectacular sequences of the invasion of Sanghai by the Japanese army that reach it's climax in a scene that is pure poetry.
The second part of the film shows Daiqi defending Sanghai from the Japanese invasion leading us to an emotional and epic ending...
One of the best moves made in Hong Kong in recent years, much better than the films that are coming out from Hollywood these days.