God Of War
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During the 16th century, pirates rule the Chinese coastline, pillaging the small villages and terrorizing the citizens. When maverick leader Commander Yu (martial arts legend Sammo Hung) enlists the help of a sharp young general (Vincent Zhao), they devise a plan to defeat the pirates. A violent clash of wit and weapons will decide who will rule the land in this sweeping historical epic from veteran action director Gordon Chan.
Language: Mandarin (original)
Available Subtitles: English
...a brightly rendered action-adventure... --LA Times
...the best Asian historical epic since John Woo's Red Cliff. --Film Journal International
It s massive action entertainment at its epic best. --Blood Brothers Reviews
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Based on a page from Ming Dynasty history, this action picture tells a story of loyalty, military strategies, and even incorporates a sub-plot of female empowerment. Outnumbered by the Japanese, Gen. Qi shows off his tactical genius by dealing the enemies their first major defeat. Following this, Qi must deal with the bureaucratic aftermath of the battle, flirt with an opinionated wife (Regina Wan Qian) at home, train a new troop comprising fearless villagers, and lead an all-out attack against the Japanese forces.
A highlight of the film is the battle of wits between Qi and Japanese strategist Kumasawa (Kurata Yasuaki). Qi is appropriately heroic, but avoids the blindness that often is associated with the good guy. Though he’s humiliated in front of his men by his wife, tricked by the local magistrate, and mocked by his opponents, he remains unshakable in his goals. And Kumasawa is portrayed not as a caricature of evil, but as an intelligent and formidable adversary, to be both respected and feared for his ability to figure out battle moves.
Director Gordon Chan uses handheld cameras to get close to the action, with fights extending into streets, alleys, up staircases and onto rooftops. These sequences are excitingly staged and provide excellent action moments. There are many characters and many relationships to keep track of, but Chan never lets the proceedings get confusing or overly complex.
Bonus materials on the 2-disc unrated Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack include a making-of featurette, and a trailer. The film is in Mandarin, with English subtitles.