Wednesday, November 16, 2011
“LEGENDARY AMAZONS” 杨门女将之军令如山 Hong Kong Movie Review. A Confusing RE-MAKE of the 1972 EPIC.
“Just let sleeping dogs lie.”
This would be the firm belief of this Reviewer at dreadful remakes.
As it is in the case of the LEGENDARY AMAZONS where you can expect more chaff than fluff.
Sure, Hong Kong is taking a cue from Hollywood on the vast subject of recommendable remakes.
Hence this much anticipated 2011 adaptation of the immensely successful 1972 Chinese Shaw Brothers classic THE FOURTEEN AMAZONS could either be creating waves or rocking the boat.
Nice timing for a reboot.
The only snag is that the man at the helm of “LEGENDARY WARRIORS” is the missing-in-action-for-a-long-time film director FRANKIE CHAN who’s hardly notable for fielding any big time epic.
JACKIE CHAN extends his friendship by producing this one.
You can tell that no expenses are spared, that is is an extravagant, colossal production.
Yet the problem lies in the latent directorial treatment.
Heavens forbid, it stars the stressful CECILIA CHEUNG who, of late, had been reported to be braving marital woes aside pocketing colossal sums for her smart selection of lucrative come-back roles.
“LEGENDARY WARRIORS” is largely a woman depiction that in ancient times, sweet damsels may not necessarily be as hapless as they seem.
They will cast away hysterics, adorn amours and even bravely fight a war.
This time-worn tale is set in the Song Dynasty where all the weaker men of the Yang Clan are massacred in battle, leaving the women to fend for themselves.
The surviving damsels are culled from the pedigreed lineage, starting from a regal grand dame to family abiding daughters.
Salute as they fearlessly strap on armors and swords and gallop into the battle fields.
The gregarious of them all, a Yang family daughter-in-law, Mu Guiying, is a celebrated woman warrior in Chinese folklore that captained the army.
This movie preaches and exaggerates her story.
History lays claim that the facts remain, but you best exercise discretion to lap this all up, or not.
There are loads of “wire-fu” action galore and generous doses of CGI effects which seem to be a staple diet of recent made-in-China martial arts flicks.
The results show a stupendous “same-ness” that can be boring to a fault.
CECILIA CHEUNG takes on the lead role as Mu Guiying, which was played to perfection by the legendary actress IVY LING PO in the original epic.
Clearly CECILIA lacks the stoic grace and the character dominated by her predecessor.
Most of the times she appears wide-eyed, with a pained or disdainful expression, wailing for whatever it takes. She definitely fared better in maiden roles before her marriage.
The celebrated Shaw Brothers version had a bevy of superstars such as LISA LU, IVY LING PO, LILY HO and LI CHING.
The only notable performers in this remake are CECILIA CHEUNG, RITCHIE REN, KATHY CHOW and CHENG PEI PEI but sadly, this line-up pales in comparison to the 1972 classic.
It would have been splendid to watch CHENG PEI PEI the charismatic 1960s Queen of Swordplay displaying her martial arts prowess in a single fight scene, but no – hold your breath, this is not to be.
For the baby boomer it would make complete sense that this film is targeted at the younger market given the selection of the ensemble cast.
The battle field fights are choreographed to be furious and stupendous, but end up being a total mayhem of confusion with an overkill of CGI.
There are a fair amount of tearing scenes yet strangely, these are unable to milk any sympathy from the press members.
With JOHN WOO or ANG LEE at the helm, this gigantic budget feature could have taken a different direction in terms of visual presentation and storytelling.
Go watch it for whatever it’s worth and be your own judge.
For true-blue fans of CGI, special effects, wire-fu works, CECILIA CHEUNG and RITCHIE REN, this feature film will be a royal treat.
REALLY KOOL, right?
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“LEGENDARY AMAZONS” 杨门女将之军令如山 Hong Kong Film Review
CHENG PEI PEI
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