Legend of Zu
Hong Kong 2001
Tsui Hark, Tiffany Chen (executive), Brian Cox (executive), Charles Heung (executive), Anant Singh (executive), Bob Weinstein (executive), Harvey Weinstein (executive), Wellson Chin (associate) for Film Workshop, One Hundred Years of Film, China Film Co-Production Corp, Distant Horizons, Youth Film Studio, China Star
directed by Tsui Hark
starring Ekin Cheng, Cecilia Cheung, Louis Koo, Patrick Tam, Kelly Lin, Sammo Hung, Zhang Ziyi, Jacky Wu, Lau Shun, Chan Hoi, Hong Hoi, Zhao Yi, Ng Yuet, Tian Zhou, Tan Jian-Chang
written by Lee Man Choi, Tsui Hark, music by Ricky Ho, martial arts direction by Yuen Woo-Ping, visual effects by Cinefex Workshop, Menfond Electronic Art and Computer Design, Figital Dimension, Foundation Imaging, Fuzzy Logic Productions, Pixel Magic
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Together with King Sky (Ekin Cheng), the good people of the Onmei Clan
led by White Eyebrows (Sammo Hung) and the hero Red (Louis Koo) try to
defend Zu the Magic Mountain against the evil demon. Soon enough, it falls
upon Red to guard the demon's cavern - and before long, he is possessed by
the demon himself (who had some help from Kelly Lin playing an evil picie
fairy). With the cavern unguarded, the demon wreaks havoc on
the Magic Mountain, so it falls upon King Sky, Enigma (Cecilia Cheung) -
the splitting image of King Sky's teacher Dawn - and Ying (Jacky Wu) -
Enigma's old partner Hollow reincatnated into the body of an inexperienced
fighter - to fight and defeat the demon, but while King Sky is forced to
fight his possessed friend Red via astral projection, Insomnia manages to
steal his body, and now it's up to Enigma and Ying to free him ... but is
Ying even experienced for a task that big, and will they succeed ?
of course they will, even if Enigma dies of something (it's never
explained) in the process and King Sky has to kill Red. But in the end,
the Magic Mountain is saved once again.
In the course of the proceedings
by the way Patrick Tam and Zhang Ziyi fall in love, but their characters
are of no importance to the story.
Not really a sequel to Zu:
Warriors from the Magic Mountain (nor a remake as some suggest),
this can be seen as a self-contained fantasy film. Sure, it's incredibly
hard to understand what's going on on the screen at times, but believe me,
knowing the earlier film doesn't help understanding this one one bit. And
that's one of the problems of Legend Of Zu: While it's core plot is
a rather simple and simplistic fantasy story about the fight of good
versus evil, its script as such is incredibly convoluted, with most of its
plot elements just going nowhere or just confusing the viewer. At the same
time, comparing Legend to Zu:
Warriors from the Magic Mountain, the new one totally lacks the
quirky characters of the earlier film (or many of Tsui Hark's early films
for that matter), everyone inhere is so awfully heroic and little beyond
that that it makes me puke. Pretty much all the characters are the
very same born hero, yet there are so darn many of them ... Add to this an
over-reliance on CGI-effects that are simply put not always up to the
task, and you are left with - well, with not all that much.
Of Zu is not a total failure, it's at least visually stunning, and
some of the effects, while not wholly convincing, are at least a whole
deal more inventive than most atrocities Hollywood has thrown at us
lately. And at least the martial arts choreography is definitely worth a
look. That all does not make Legend of Zu a good film - but at
least a watchable one. Just don't even bother to follow the plot.