Warriors From the Magic Mountain (Zu Mountain: New Legend of the Zu Mountain Swordsmen) (Xin shu shan jian ke) Reviews
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.
A young Soldier (Yuen Biao) finds himself in a world of demons and monks. He teams up with a powerful swordsman and a monk duo, and they have to find two magical swords in 49 days before the Blood Demon can wreak havoc on the world.
The visual effects are hypnotic and trippy, even looking kind of cool even though very dated. The plot is a little on the boorish side but the spectacle and fantasy are the likes of something you've never seen. Definitely a visual masterpiece.
Personally I'm underwhelmed by this movie. The special effects are dated and the plot is somewhat confusing. I had wanted to see this for a long time and I was expecting something epic but truthfully by the time I actually saw this I was so hyped up that there was no way it could ever live up to what I was expecting.
If you like martial arts movies, or even action fantasies, try this, its not bad, its just not the be all and end all I know some people claim it is.
A very entertaining and funny movie. Well-acted and directed.
This was one of the biggest budget HK films ever made. And like many films in a similar economic level, this one is more sfx and action than plot, characters, or coherence. Moments of it are glorious though. If you like epic fantasy, and martial arts this is absolutely not to be missed. Everyone else stay far away.