I was reminded somewhat of Roger Rabbit by the plot: humans living uneasily with a race of nonhumans. Interactions between the two cultures are fraught with moments of humor, sweetness, violence, and even cruelty.
Keanu Reeves deserves praise for directing this film. The blend of serious action and engrossing story work extremely well here and raises this film way above the many run-of-the-mill fight films out there. Highly recommended.
One thought that popped into my mind at first about Fallen Angels was “style over substance.” That’s simplistic. Yes, there’s a ton of style here. There is also a lot of substance. It’s just that the substance is not the feel-good or warm-and-fuzzy type; at times things get really dark. How the movie is photographed supports that. But it’s a movie well worth watching.
Hark Tsui’s FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE at times reminded me of a Saturday morning cartoon. It’s almost Tom-and-Jerry-like in its portrayal of action and violence. Yet it’s immensely entertaining if only for its exotic locations, diverse costumes, visual splendor, and fascinating facial tattoos.
It is 1937 in Foshan China, a city dominated by rival martial arts academies that constantly test who is the best. Over all lords the wealthy but humble merchant Ip Man whose fighting technique is acknowledged by all as superior.
A businessman returns to his country home in rural China to bury his recently deceased schoolteacher father. He finds his distraught mother insisting on a long funeral procession with friends and former students bearing the coffin. The road to be taken has special meaning dating back to the parents' courtship. It is the courtship in flashback that dominates the film.
Zhang Yimou (Hero, The Road Home, Not One Less) outdoes himself in this sumptuous combination of Tang dynasty era martial arts, romance, changing seasons, terrific clothes, bamboo forests, and physics-defying flying objects (and people).