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Warriors From the Magic Mountain (Zu Mountain: New Legend of the Zu Mountain Swordsmen) (Xin shu shan jian ke) Reviews

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Super Reviewer

May 12, 2011
Martial arts fantasy adventure from Hong Kong director Tsui Hark. Quite ground-breaking and influencial back in its day and was the inspiration for John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China". This film really wasn't my cup of tea though. The special effects are quite dated badly and the wires used to elevate the characters during the action are visibly distracting. The art design and sets are quite striking though. The film has a very fast pace and it was a real challenge keeping up with the action and reading the subtitles at the same time, something I don't usually struggle with. At the end of it all it was too tame and fantastical for my taste.

Super Reviewer

October 26, 2006
Amazing Hong Kong supernatural fantasy film.
May 29, 2008
Amazing movie, the special effects may be cheesy as all hell by today's standards, but in HK at the time they were top of the line. Ignore the cheesy effects and enjoy the film for what it is.
August 14, 2007
I loved the amazing CG and action in this movie. Fantastical and magical with a soft love story mixed in but isn't the focus of the movie.
November 25, 2012
Occasionally juxtaposed to "Star Wars" (1977) these kindred spirits of camp art share not only thematic elements, some of the same technical wizards, and a shared nostalgia between contemporary critics and audiences alike but also some of the same weaknesses.

Co-written by Szeto Cheuk-hon, who collaborated on screenplays for three of director Tsui Hark's previous films, "Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain" is likable based on the strength of its merits in sight and sound, but storytelling isn't one of the film's virtues. Like "Star Wars" this flying swordsman fantasy rarely ever stops to the point it's difficult to recall a moment where the narrative succeeds in pacifying Tsui's funhouse approach to filmmaking.

This is no more evident than when the aforementioned warriors from the magic mountain arrive at a cryptic queen's fortress in the clouds and spend the next twelve minutes soaring through the air jousting with rays of energy from their palms in an attempt to appeal to the speechless ruler for her help. Once you look past all the smoke and mirrors its obvious why this sequence was tailored in this fashion: "Zu" would have viewed a grounded dialogue-driven exchange as some kind of
cardinal sin for this brand of ADHD storytelling even though this is what the film really needs -- breaks.

The atmosphere created by Tsui's marvelously colorful vision and recreated through Bill Wong's moody photography is accompanied by Gwan Sing-yau and Tang Siu-lam's pragmatic score and accented by the tutelage of conscripted Western technicians whose collective resume includes not only the special effects for George Lucas's 1977 science-fiction phenomenon (supposedly Tsui's original inspiration) but "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," "Tron," "Battlestar Galactica," and "Bladerunner" as well. Though Tsui was given an unprecedented HK $30 million budget by Golden Harvest Studios to turn his dream into a reality the special effects -- presumably where the lion's share of the money went -- have a cost-cutting charm that still has yet to wear off.
August 14, 2010
Sounds great, but was really boring.
April 22, 2012
Just like I said about Rainbow War, this movie is pure art. I enjoyed watching this ever since I first saw this 7 years ago. There's so many great scenes, and I love the colorful costumes. My favorite part is the battle scene between the green yellow and orange people. This is truly one of the greatest martial arts movies ever.
February 18, 2010
(*** 1/2): Thumbs Up

A very entertaining and funny movie. Well-acted and directed.
The D.
February 18, 2010
Pacey, stylish and innovative but loses its way about half way through.
April 9, 2006
A strange yet compellingly watchable movie filled with some of the most incredible set pieces I have ever seen.

A little too heavy on the Dragonball-Z type fighting, and light on the martial arts.

I enjoyed it, but I should really watch it again now that I know what to expect.

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