No matter how fun and awesome this film thinks it is, its not. Its just another run of the mill action/sci film which boasts a cool concept but doesnt know how to deliver it and is way too focused on the large scale action sequences that it forgets about having a story which keeps you entertained. The fight sequences are well choreographed but edited too quickly so its sometimes hard to see whats going on you just assume whatever it is its probably awesome. overall its a sloppy generic action film which had no idea how to turn the interesting concept into an entertaining film
By focusing on characters and plot rather than jumpscares,gor and violence "Devils Backbone" transcends the predictability of most horrors with an intelligantly written and superbly directed film about loss of innocence & dreams that will never be all set in the backdrop of the Spanish Civil war. This hightens our relationship with the characters through the worry built from the both the war and the supernatural happenings. Del Toro doesnt veer away from the actual story by going overboard with sfx but keeps them to a minimum but the effects we see are terryfic in a subtle yet powerful way. The backdrop of the civil war is also very underplayed which helps us focus on the story of these characters and helps us go through their turmoil.
The martial arts is incredible showing that Jet Li is far from finished but this film also brings out more from Li than his fighting, he delivers one of his best performances ive ever seen capturing his character very well and dealing with the charachter development well. Ronny Yu directs with a keen eye for the beauty in china and he captues it perfectly, some of the landscape shots really take your breath away and really make me regret i didnt see this in the cinema. The fight scenes are shot amazingly as well with each becoming more meaningful as the film goes on and even if they meant nothing they are still incredible. Overall this is a fine film which has definate re-watch value due to its great story, visual beauty and to also see Li in his "last" martial arts film