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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Movie Review - Storm Warriors (aka Storm Riders II)

Movie Title
Storm Warriors (aka Storm Riders II or Fung Wan II)
Taking place presumably years after the 1st film. Japanese Warlord, Lord Godless (Simon Yam) and son Heart (Nicholas Tse), both extremely powerful martial arts warriors, had invaded China and are seeking the fabled Dragon Bones/Spinal Cord (Lung Mak) of which only the Emperor of China has knowledge of its secret whereabouts hidden within the labyrinth under the Emperor’s Palace. They magically managed to capture most of China's top defenders including Nameless the Undefeated (Kenny Ho) and Striding Cloud (Aaron Kwok). Before Lord Godless took off for the Dragon Bones, Whispering Wind (Cheng) managed to mount a rescue mission to save both Nameless and Cloud. However, in the battle against Lord Godless, Nameless suffered serious injury was finally defeated before making his escape with Cloud and Wind.
Nameless tells Cloud and Wind that only Lord Wicked (Kenny Wong) now has the power to defeat Godless, but they soon discover that Lord Wicked power caused him to be overcome by the Dark Side and was slaughtering innocents in his madness. He cut off both his arms to avoid becoming totally consumed by the Dark Side. Given the urgency and lack of time before Lord Godless’ catches up with them in his next assault, Lord Wicked suggests that taking the path toward the Dark Side may be the fastest way for Wind and Cloud to gain the necessary power to take on Godless, but of course, as can be expected from any journey down the Dark Side, the risks involved can be monumental. Lord Wicked deduces that only Wind may the only one with the strength of character to return unscathed from the Dark Side, while Cloud, who is unable to restrain his temper, would be tutored by the injured Nameless to develop his own powerful kung-fu moves with Nameless’ power transfer to Cloud.
Predictably, altho’ the combined might of the pumped-up Wind and Cloud made short work of Lord Godless with little effort, Wind is eventually overcome by the Dark Side and Cloud is the only one seemingly able to bring him back. But before he does, the 2 heroes’ lives would never be the same again.
As usual (and expected), the female cast’s acting not only leaves much to be desired – unless you are watching a coma-inducing drama where the female leads are put in credible performances – but was to an extent, irritating and disrupts the flow of the movie. OK, irritation also could be derived from the fat side-kick. Simon Yam and Nicholas Tse’s characters had been under-developed as I honestly believe they could have done so much more wit them. As for the 2 leads go, they are captivating with their on-screen charisma and watching them, you would not be able to keep track of the time (despite many complains about the final battle scene.)
Wow, it sure does not seem to have been 11 years already since the 1st movie. Nevertheless, I am glad this movie was made. Touted to be the most expensive martial arts film ever, visually, it did not disappoint. This movie employs visuals that are very similar to the battle scenes of 300, Harry Potter movies and even Nighcrawler's teleportation effects in the X-Men 2 movie.
The costumes of the lead heroes are also pretty impressive and well-done.
Alas this film is but half only a movie, ending with a literal cliffhanger, leaving audiences either thrilled to the prospect of another sequel (that would be me) or sick with anticipation, not knowing when the next sequel will come. I really enjoyed myself with this movie regardless of what have already been said about it and would heartily recommend it.
Rating: 6.5/10


Felicia said...

surprisingly you were entertained,because i heard of many negative feedbacks

JM Loke said...

Yup, u know I'm a comic nut so I do have an affinity towards this genre of movies. However, trying to look at it more objectively, it wasn't bad at all! Altho the story was very simple and not much really happened but that's the art of story-telling! Which I honestly thought was very good!