Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Anti Hero

Been looking forward to this film since I saw a clip of it on the Academy Awards show a year or so ago. So when it finally came to town, got good reviews, and became the top box office draw of the Labor Day weekend, I was even more psyched. After all, I’ve never seen a Jet Li movie I didn’t like.

This one, though, is different. I still like it, I guess. Sort of. But not the way I expected, and not nearly as much as I expected. Sure, it’s intellectually stimulating. Yeah, the cinematography is incredible. OK, it’s just possibly the most beautiful martial arts film ever made.

But, much as I like my kung fu movies made with style and grace, I also expect a rip-roaring story with a sense of humor and a lot of mindless butt-kicking. (My ideals in this vein are Iron Monkey (1994)
http://movies.go.com/movies/I/ironmonkey_1994/, who’s a cross between Robin Hood and Zorro, and The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk (1993), a Jet Li film now marketed as simply The Legend. http://www.kungfucinema.com/reviews/fongsaiyuk.htm).

Hero, unfortunately, is slow. And serious. And arty. And tragic. And sad. It tries to be a lot more than a kung fu movie, and I suppose it succeeds. But in the end, it left me unsatisfied, like I needed to go out and rent an old Zatoichi flick.


Blogger Bill said...

THE IRON MONKEY would have done more business if the publicity department had taken my advice and used this tagline: "You can't spank the Iron Monkey!"

September 14, 2004 at 6:38 AM  

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