Sunday, 19 June 2011

True Legend / Su Qi-Er


Dir: Yuen Woo Ping (Iron Monkey)
Cast: Vincent Zhao, Zhou Xun, Andy On, Guo Xiaodong, Jay Chou, Michelle Yeoh, David Carradine, Gordon Liu, Cung Le, Luxia Jiang, Will Liu
China, 2011

Seen: June 18, 2011

Reason to see: Martial Arts films are a yes for me!

True Legend / Su Qi-Er is a historically set martial arts film following two brothers: the family man & successful Su Can (Vincent Zhao) and the power hungry adoptive brother Yuan Lie (Andy On). Add a branch on that family tree to intertwine them even tighter as Su Can is married to Yuan Lie sister Yuan Ying (played by Zhou Xun).

I'm going to keep it the plot just that simple as with historical films it's sometimes hard to find the right place to draw the line between knowledge and spoiler. And to be honest, sharing more about the plot might be a little challenging as I felt that the film veered of in a few directions that made it feel a bit clunky and almost confusing. But, don't let that stop you from seeing it because at the heart of it we are really following the great characters who are on very interesting journeys. Personally, I loved the Yuan Lie, who was totally creepy and fascinating character and oddly I could connect to him more than protagonist Su Can's tormented journey to and away from martial arts in an effort to protect his family and maintain his sanity.

The draw of this film is pretty strong. The characters are interesting, the setting are gorgeous and the action is spectacular and in a martial arts film that's more well than enough than I need. There are lots of great sequences with both Vincent Zhao and Andy On along with several other actors and in particular I loved Luxia Jiang and Will Liu as Iron Maiden & Iron Clad. Totally cool Plus, we also have a sliver or two of the supernatural and spiritual with characters like God of Wushu / Drunken God (Jay Chou of The Green Hornet) and Bearded Man (Gordon Liu of Heroes of the East / 中華丈夫) given the film and insightful depth and unique perspective. I also really enjoyed the art direction, production design and a lot of the transitions.

True Legend / Su Qi-Er is a slick film on multiple levels. It has great action, awesome production values and interesting journeys. The story confused me a little a times, but I think on multiple viewings it might come to a clearer, and I certainly intended to watch it again. Fun times.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it to martial arts film fans

Also see: All 2011 Films Reviewed and All Film Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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