Saturday, September 25, 2010

Film — True Legend (Su Qi-Er)

Woo-Ping Yuen's latest chop-socky film about Beggar Su, the master of Dunken Fist wu-shu had its UK première here this evening.

It was almost solid martial arts mayhem, with just a few pauses for breath; however the structure of the film was a bit of a mess -- the intrusive 'now put on your 3D glasses/OK take them off again' around the training arc and what looked like it was going to be the Boss Fight didn't help (nor did the 3D itself where the actors often seemed to be floating detached from the rather washed-out scene around them.

The story itself seems to be a fairly direct one about Su and his adopted brother Yuan who spurns the generosity of his adopted family, and cue two-way revenge tragedy -- then just when you think it's all over, a long coda culminating in the real Boss Fight out of nowhere.

Clearly it must be following the high points of a well known tale -- but it ends up feeling unresolved because of the broken narrative rhythm, whereas stopping at the tragedy of the 3/4 mark would have given closure (if you don't ask too deeply why a martial artist of Su's calibre would dig a box out of sandy ground with his bare hands, rather than using some one-inch-punch technique to break open the lid in situ).

In all, not entirely satisfying popcorn fare.

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