|Starring||Louis Koo, Nick Wang, Han Geng, Lam Suet|
Finally. I’ve waited a long time for this. A new Louis Koo movie, the first of many over the next year.
And while he has several coming out at the same time, the first cab off the rank, is this one. Based on the very popular long running Japanese hack’n’slash video game franchise.
What’s this movie about?
Three warriors: Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, join forces with a wanted ex-guard Cao Cao and an alliance of Eighteen other warlords in an attempt to overthrow the tyrant Dong Zhou and free the Han people of China.
Lots of expansive battles take place, culminating in an anti-climax that sets itself for a sequel, and most likely turn this into a franchise exactly like the games.
My Thoughts on this Movie
I’m going to have a bit of fun with this. While I have played the games, well some of them, I am not obsessed with them. That means I don’t know the ins and outs of the story, both the game story and the original historical stories, or the characters.
To me, they just larger than life avatars with some massive compensating weapons and unexplained magical powers. And I am cool with that. I enjoyed the games because it was a mindless button basher, and I enjoyed this movie because it gave off a very similar vibe.
Serious movie reviewers are not going to like this movie, but I am far from a serious reviewer. So, while I don’t know that games all that well, I remember enough about them to know that I don’t recall there being any possession and reanimating the dead scenes, and definitely no horse or people biting. Unless they occur in one of the 7-plus games before Part 8?
The famous wibbly-wobbly cock rock from the games is in the movie. That little detail really helps set the scene. The only thing we really don’t get are the long conversations during the battles. They all occur before and after each battle scene.
And I am thankful for them, because while on the surface this might be just another “game to movie” adaptation, there is a surprisingly detailed story here and a quite large cast of characters.
The story has elements of everything: action and drama obviously, but there’s even a hint of romance, double-crossing, suspense and fantasy. In fact there is quite a lot of suspense as the movie ends on a damn cliffhanger that leaves multiple story arcs unanswered, thus making us beg for a sequel.
The casting in the movie is a strange mix, and I really hope you like a lot of laughing. Lam Suet, who I swear gets less and less nimble and more and more fruity as gets older, is a strange choice as the main villain. He laughs his way through most lines, and other times he overacts to create this massive caricature of himself and his character. And his signature hairy-mole is hidden behind a bloody busy beard!
And while I might love him to death, Uncle Louis, what have you done? Mr Cool Louis Koo plays the role of the evil general Lu (loo-iee) Bu, and in a surprise heel turned babyface switch that absolutely everyone saw coming, his story line with romantic interest Diao Chan and his epic three on one fight with the movie heroes end unfinished, demanding immediate answers from this reviewer.
Also Uncle Louis, I’m starting to see what others have been telling me about you. You really don’t have any facial expressions. But I still love you.
I’m not sure this movie was supposed to take itself seriously, because it really doesn’t. And that hilarious decapitation scene where all the heads land in the same spot within Cao Cao hideout had me in stitches, as did all the ridiculous slow-mo scenes.
But you know what? I really enjoyed this. Because I didn’t take this seriously, and I don’t anyone else should either. There is a lot of fantastical wirework, some very very dodgy CGI, overtly patriotic dialogue, especially at the end, and enough laughing, special moves and craziness to let you switch off your brain and mindlessly enjoy 2 hours of CGI entertainment.
Perhaps in the next movie, we could CGI a smile on Uncle Louis’ face? Also, a real missed opportunity to tie this movie in with yet another game, but this movie, yeah It’s a thumbs up. Just enjoy it.
If you’ve seen it, what did you think?