- X 2019
Hong Kong/China/USA 2006
William Kong, Buting Yang, Jet Li, Ronny Yu for Hero China International, Beijing Film Studio, China Film Group, Wide River Investments, China Film Co-Production Corp
directed by Ronny Yu
starring Jet Li, Shido Nakamura, Betty Sun, Dong Yong, Paw Hee Ching, Qu Yun, Nathan Jones, Brandon Rhea, Anthony De Longis, Jean Claude Leuyer, Mike Leeder, Jon T.Benn, John Paisley, Collin Chou, Masato Harada, Zhao Zhigang, Samantha Buck, Jacky Heung, Jason C.Lin
written by Chris Chow, To Chi-Long, Christine To, music by Poon Hang-Sang, special effects by Menfond Electronic Art and Computer Design, action choreography by Yuen Woo-ping
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China, the beginning of the 20th century: After seeing his father (Zhao
Zhigang), a wushu master, defeated, Huo Yuanjia (Jet Li) vows to never
again lose a fight - and once grown up he has become the undisputed wushu
master of the region ... but with his success, he has also become vane,
and a bit of a drinker. Ultimately, all of this leads to him killing a
fellow wushu master in an unnecessary fight in which he also thrashes the
restaurant of his best friend Nong Jinsun (Dong Yong) - upon which the
other master's student kill his family. This makes Yuanjia lose his will
to live, and he tries to drown himself but is saved by blind girl Moon
(Betty Sun) and her family, ricefarmers in rural China, who take him in
without any questions and treat him like one of them as long as he helps
in the ricefields.
In the country, Yuanjia has learned to become a
better person, but ultimately he just has to return to the city to reclaim
his throne as wushu champion against western strongman Hercules O'Brien
(Nathan Jones) - which he does even with the help of Nong Jinsun, who has
seen the change in Yuanjia. Together, the two found a sports federation
that soon grows strong in all of China - much to the dismay of all
occupying forces, who soon challenge Yuanjia to a four-on-one match, in
which he has to defeat four opponents from all corners of the world or ...
well or lose, and lose face, too.
Yuanjia has no problems to defeat his
three Western opponents, but when he goes against Japanese Tanaka (Shido
Nakamura), he is poisoned behind his back and starts dying during the
course of the fight. But Tanaka is a man of honour and has found respect
for Yuanjia - a respect that is mutual - and in the end, he declares
Yuanjia the winner despite everything, only moment before Yuanjia dies ...
Sure, this film features superb action sequences, but as much could be
expected from veteran action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping, its direction is
incredibly smooth, but as much could be expected from Ronny Yu, plus the
whole thing looks incredibly polished, but a high budget has seen to that
... still, the movie is actually rather a failure on a quality level, and
its main fault is its incredibly old-fashioned and conservative screenplay
that totally lacks all nuances and all character development beyond the
obviuos (and disappointingly predictable). Add to that Jet Li, who is of
course an incredible martial artist (which he ably demonstrates in Fearless)
but not all that much of an actor (which the weak script demands) and you
are left with a clichéd, forgettable piece of Kung Fu cinema, that seems
to be terribly out of date in 2006.
Not really worth your while.