Ashes of Time Redux (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ashes of Time Redux (2008)

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Critic 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.

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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

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Cast

Maggie Cheung
as Brother's Wife
Leslie Cheung
as Ouyang Feng
Jacky Cheung
as Hong Qi
Brigitte Lin
as Murong Yin/Murong Yang
Tony Leung Ka Fai
as Huang Yao-shi
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
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Critic Reviews for Ashes of Time Redux

All Critics (86) | Top Critics (27)

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.

Full Review… | November 14, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Wong Kar-Wai doesn't supply much of a plot with a narrative engine to pull us through.

Full Review… | November 14, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

I struggled to engage with the archetypes contained within the images, even with all that meticulously restored golden-yellow sand.

November 13, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | November 13, 2008
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The kicks are more to the head and heart than to the body.

Full Review… | October 31, 2008
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Ashes of Time Redux is primarily a sensory experience that deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible.

Full Review… | October 31, 2008
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ashes of Time Redux

Muddling but strangely absorbing and beautiful to look at and (kind of) resolves itself at the end.

Lesley N
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

certainly one of the most beautiful films i have ever seen. but honestly, what the hell just happened? would kill to see this projected though

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Oh yes! Finally saw it. I don't believe that I saw the original unless it was at the Film Festival many years ago but I like it...Wong Kar Wai doing the traditional Chinese epic story...and doing it in a very unique manner. Not a lot of effects for the ideas but plenty of character.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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