Tag Archives: Wuxia

On Ne Zha and a Sequel?

5 Sep

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

* Spoiler Alert

Ne Zha (哪吒之魔童降世) is Dragonball Z on steroids. This title is the name of a movie about a rascally young boy (voiced by Lü Yanting) who does not have the makings of the divinity Chinese people highly respect today. You don’t want to let him in your home just yet. He needs to earn his reputation. When the world is about immortals battling for positions of power–to be one of the 8 Golden Immortals–in Heaven, I question how easy life is in Ancient China when they live amongst humanity and the battles are fought here than in the safety of the Aether.

This animation is laden with a lot of moments worthy of an Avengers: Age of Ultron, Infinity War and Endgame mashup dressed in oriental garb. It offers very little in the charm of extolling Eastern philosophies. Where this story shines is with the premise that destiny can be challenged and reshaped.

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The Shadow You Are & Deep Within, the Shadow You Aren’t

16 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Released Aug 13, 2019
Well GO USA

Zhang Yimou’s Shadow is a kind of wuxia film to be best watched on the big screen for its details and colour contrasts. After being enthralled, it should be viewed again on home video to understand its complex narrative. I certainly needed it especially since it last played theatrically at Fantasia Fest 2019.

This tragic tale of court drama is the type I feel Shakespeare will love, and if there is a person whom I feel is damned, that would be the king’s Commander Ziyu (Deng Chao). He challenged General Yang (Hu Jun) from a nearby settlement to a duel without royal authorization and this battle complicates things.

King Peiliang (Zhang Kai) wants that city back under his rule. He goes as far as offering his sister Princess Qingping (Guan Xiaotong) as a wife for Yang’s son, and she doesn’t like the idea at all. To make matters worse, the shadow (to which this movie gets its name) is a doppelgänger masquerading as Ziyu while the real one is recovering. Only his wife Madam (Sun Li) knows and if things are not bad enough, she has feelings for the lookalike.

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Kung Fu Panda 3 Executes Sophisticated Punches to Marvel At! A Movie Review

30 Jan

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

kung-fu-panda-3-poster

Everybody will soon want to hum to the new Kung Fu Fighting in Po’s journey (Jack Black) in Kung Fu Panda 3. Not only does the story reunite him with his past, of a life totally forgotten, but also the CGI, watercolour scroll visuals (revealed in flashback) and 3D deliver a glorious blow to the senses to behold. Very rarely will a film get the depth right and this film gets the job done perfectly!

There’s no subtitle to indicate what the tale is about, and true to the great cosmic will, this young warrior’s destiny is looking like it will come full circle. The virtues of yin and yang are duly explored in this latest entry; from witnessing how Po has to deal with two fathers — one biological (Li Shan, voiced by Bryan Cranston) and the other adoptive (Mr. Ping, played by James Hong) not necessarily seeing eye-to-eye — to learning about what his true potential is, this computer animated gem combines the best themes realized in other Wuxia films. When considering this story is co-developed by both divisions of DreamWorks (in China and USA), enlightenment is achieved!

While this movie is focussed on reuniting Po with his Panda heritage, an old threat wants to return to the physical realm to wreck chaos. Kai (J. K. Simmons) is a temperamental bull who has a history with Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) — who passed away in the first movie. This film takes a peek into the spirit realm to show that life continues, and while this turtle is enjoying his ‘retirement,’ not everyone in this plane of existence feels the same. The two meet again, and the plot of Kai wanting to steal souls exist so he can amass a new army. Of course, he senses Po’s vitality and he is coveting it for his own use.

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