To start, there are two versions of this movie. There is the international version, which I have, and the American version which I have actually seen. The international version is over 4 hours long and is in subtitles. The American version I *think* is dubbed in but I could be wrong with that. But it is a movie of normal length instead of nearly five hours long. The American version did this movie justice though. Things that were cut out were not terribly important yet they kept ALL the battles from what I remember. Just a lot of the artsy stuff seemed to be removed. I haven’t seen the American version in over a year though.
For people who do not know, the story is about the Prime Minister of China who is hunting down the last two remaining war lords. One of the war lords is poorer and nomadic and the other is considered a “coward” and is in southern part of the country. And of course, the Prime Minister is corrupt and war mongering and the two war lords end up forming an alliance to try and make a last stand against the Prime Minister.
There is some SERIOUS action in this film as the war scenes are extremely long. Good, ol’ fashioned martial arts scenes like only the Asians can choreograph. There is a huge battle to start the movie, a huge battle near the middle, and then a ridiculously long battle to end the movie. And the scale of these battles is huge. For instance, the prime minister has an army around 800,000.
The best part of the movie isn’t the battles but the strategy surrounding the battles. There is some interesting things going on in the attempt to stop the prime minister despite the warlords being vastly outnumbered. You get things as simple as battle formation and some things as complicated as figuring out the weather.
The scenery and music is also stunning and beautiful in this movie. Think Lord of the Rings like scenery and music wise.
The biggest thing holding this movie back is the fact it is foreign. I had a horrible time telling the characters apart and I can’t remember more than two of their names. I also had a hard time feeling sorry for characters or really getting into the “non battle” stuff due to a culture disconnect. I just didn’t appreciate things that I think people of that culture would.
Rotten Tomatoe’s Rating: 89% Audience:78%
Shadow’s Rating: 8/10– Nice action scenes, nice story, and the war strategy stuff was fun. The big thing holding this movie back is simply that it is foreign to be honest.
Pros, cons and spoilers after the jump.
– The battle scenes actually started to get repetitive due to being so long lol.
– The fact it is foreign like I said above. Took me half the movie to tell people apart.
– I thought the nomadic warlord (Lou Bei I think) seemed to be the weak coward and not the southern guy. He was supposed to be the stronger of the two but he was the one that was running and seemed tentative. And he was completely overshadowed by his generals.
– Tons and tons of battles. And for the most part they were pretty good, especially the beginning of them.
– The generals were freaking bad ass.
– The Chinese just know how to do martial arts movies with their own flair.
– The strategy in the movie was the best part. The collection of the arrows was epic, especially when combined with the fake assassination attempt.
– The scenery was beautiful, on scale with LotR. The music was different (ie foreign) but good as well.