Ashes of Time Redux

2008

Ashes of Time Redux

Critics Consensus

Wong Kar Wai's redux, with a few slight changes from his 1994 classic, is a feast for the eyes, if a little difficult to follow.

78%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 87

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,225
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Movie Info

Master Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai directed this lyrical, dream-like martial arts epic. A famously troubled shoot, the film took two years and 40 million dollars to produce (a shocking sum for a national cinema populated with low-budget quickies) and features a virtual who's-who of the Hong Kong film world. Conceived as a prequel to the popular martial arts novel The Eagle-Shooting Hero by Jin Yong, the movie is less a straightforward action thriller than a visually striking meditation on memory and love. It nominally centers on Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung), who ekes out a lonely existence as an itinerant hired sword. Getting on in years and tormented by memories of a lost love, he also works an agent for other mercenary assassins from his remote desert abode. Ouyang's old friend and fellow swordsman, Huang Yaoshi (Tony Leung Kar-fai, who starred in the The Lover) drowns his lovelorn misery in a magical wine that makes him forget. Later, a mysterious young man named Murong Yang (Brigitte Lin) hires Ouyang to kill his sister's unfaithful suitor, Huang Yaoshi. The following day, that spurned sister, Murong Yin (Lin again), hires Ouyang to protect her dearly beloved. Meanwhile, Hong Qi (pop star Jackie Cheung) finds some redemption for a life of killing by accepting a poor girl's offer to avenge her brother's death -- a task that Ouyang brusquely shunned. In another subplot, a master swordsman (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) is slowly going blind. He agrees to defend a village from horse thieves so that he can afford to go home and see his wife before his eyesight fails completely. This film is one of the most celebrated examples of 1990s Hong Kong cinema: it won multiple awards in its native Hong Kong, along with a Golden Osella for Best Cinematography at the 1994 Venice Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

Cast

Maggie Cheung
as Brother's Wife
Leslie Cheung
as Ouyang Feng
Tony Leung Ka Fai
as Huang Yao-shi
Jacky Cheung
as Hong Qi
Brigitte Lin
as Murong Yin/Murong Yang
Carina Lau
as Peach Blossom
Tony Leung Chiu Wai
as Blind Swordsman
Bai Li
as Hung Chi's Wife
Li Baiotan
as Hong Qi's Wife
View All

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Critic Reviews for Ashes of Time Redux

All Critics (87) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (19)

  • For this director's cut, Wong has trimmed several minutes and reorganized the narrative according to the passage of seasons, though the plot is still impenetrable.

    Nov 14, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Wong Kar-Wai doesn't supply much of a plot with a narrative engine to pull us through.

    Nov 14, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • I struggled to engage with the archetypes contained within the images, even with all that meticulously restored golden-yellow sand.

    Nov 13, 2008 | Rating: 2/4
  • Wong Kar Wai seems considerably more out of his depth than other Chinese filmmakers who have slummed in the martial arts genre. This can't compare to Chen Kaige's The Emperor and the Assassin or Yimou Zhang's House of Flying Daggers.

    Nov 13, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The kicks are more to the head and heart than to the body.

    Oct 31, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • Ashes of Time Redux is primarily a sensory experience that deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible.

    Oct 31, 2008 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Ashes of Time Redux

  • Aug 13, 2011
    This is a difficult movie to rate. First off I will state that visually this movie is flawless and exists in a league of it's own in that department. And while I did enjoy this film immensely on that level, I still felt that the story telling aspect left a lot to be desired. I am aware that this redux version has a lot of fat cut, and the fuller, longer version might have been more to my liking, but i am reviewing the redux version alone here. Not to say this cimplaint hindered my enjoyment too much, I still enjoyed what is on display here. The loss of points are more for what isn't there rather than what is. I did feel it was difficult to follow what was going on and none of the characters were really very engaging for me though, As I said though this film is a visual feast and is worth seeing on those merits alone. Could have been better but still recommended.
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2011
    Some would say confusing at times, and many people talking life lessons, and more, but stick with it, and you will get a lot out of it, a interesting story of a assassin living it out in the dessert ready for hire, and waiting for foes, and indeed friends to drop by who are also fellow assassins, and we see his dealings with love and love lost, not just from him but through them, he gets involved somehow. the film is beautyful to look at, its slow moving but purposely, and some nice action beats when needed, and certainly a story about loss and lonelyness. a film about a charactor looking over his life.
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Nov 13, 2009
    No doubt a well made film and with great cinematography. However it was a little confusing at times to follow the story and who were friends and who were enemies. The big disappointment for me was I had expected something along the lines of Hero or House of flying daggers. Unfortunately this is a different type of film altogether and barely has any fight scenes, and when there are they are a blur. Definitely more of a drama than a martial arts film.
    Dean K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2009
    didn't find it interesting enough and the story I understood it but it was a mess and hard... In ancient China, Ouyang Feng is a fallen swordsman who is afraid of love after having his heart broken. But the bounty hunters that work for him, like "Blind Swordsman" and Hung Chi, discover the intangible secret of true love while Ouyang retains his attitude towards his fighters and the precious lessons they have taught. Ou-yang Feng (Leslie Cheung) lives in the middle of a desert, where he acts as a middle man to various swordsmen in ancient China. One of those swordsmen is Huang Yao-shi (Tony Leung), who has found some magic wine that causes one to forget the past. At another time, Huang met Mu-rong Yin (Brigette Lin) and under the influence of drink, promised to marry Mu-rong's sister Mu-rong Yang. Huang jilts her, and Mu-rong Yin hires Ou-yang to kill Huang. But then Mu-rong Yang hires Ou-yang to protect Huang. This is awkward, because Mu-rong Yang and Mu-rong Yin are in reality the same person. Other unrelated plot lines careen about. Among them is Ou-yang's continuing efforts to destroy a band of horse thieves. Oy-yang recruits another swordsman (Tony Leung, but the other one), a man who is going blind and wants to get home to see his wife before his sight goes completely. The swordsman is killed. Ou-yang then meets another swordsman (Jackie Cheung) who doesn't like wearing shoes. Oy-yang sends this man after the horse thieves, with better results. We then find out what a man must give up to follow the martial path.
    Sergio E Super Reviewer

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