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The Storm Riders (1998) – His Review August 25, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Movies.
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Der Sturm Ritter ja aber bitte

Dir. Wai Keung Lau
Starring Aaron Kwok, Ekin Cheng, Sonny Chiba, Kristy Yang, Qi Shu, Michel Tse

If you know nothing, or next to nothing about Hong Kong movies – that is to say movies made with traditional HK cinema sentiments – let me give you a few hints. If you want to skip it, scroll down to the review. Let’s call it..

A short list of rules for HK cinema.

The characters are often named after their main character trait, so you instantly know who they are. For example someone who is fat generally has no other traits, and is called Fatty or something similar. The sister of the main hero can be named Sister, just to clear things up. If a guy is brooding, then Cloud is a good name, since there’s a dark cloud permanently above him.

The story consists of minor events that are interlinked, and seldom referenced in the rest of the movie, with the exclusion of the beginning and the end – you are often given the setup for the end of the movie right at the start. An example would be: Hero-type-person is face to face with his foe, just about to do battle. He has a cool looking sword. Then there’s a flashback or similar, in which Hero goes on a complicated quest. Then we get to the end, forget all that happened in between and just continue from the prologue. What happened to all the stu-uff? Nevermind.

The effects can be very cheesy. Now, this is of course subjective to your taste, but HK cinema is over-the-top cheesy. While, in a hollywood movie you may sneer at a fake looking dinosaur texture, here you are so overwhelmed by the audacity of the FX-makers and fight choreographers that it just becomes genius. It’s OK to have a Poser-rendering as your main effects shot. It’s totally fine to throw apples at Newton, and have people falling diagonally.

And yes, yes you can steal entire plots from other movies. If you think the Hollywood remake jungle is thick, then Hong Kong is.. well, thicker. With foliage and vines and junk. It’s very hard to be original when the style demands otherwise. Think of it more in terms of homages, or clichés, and you won’t choke when you see the same thing happen in yet another movie.

That probably won’t explain the genre (yes, I’m calling the entire HK movie output one genre, bite me), but it may give you a solid starting point.

On to the review:

The Storm Riders is in some ways the end of an era. After this movie, big-budget HK cinema has become more and more polished (bigger budgets presumably). You get the regular storyline, the usual protagonists, and probably one of the best attempts at live-action anime ever, all with an apparent lack of constraints on the imagination. Suspending your disbelief is impossible, to become engrossed in this story you would have to be dead. The stunts and effects, and even the story, is just so freaky that you have to smile.

This is the movie that made Qi Shu (Chi Hsu / Qi Hsu / Shu Qi / Kei Shu / Qui Shu / Kei Su) a star, reached a new box office record, and it’s got a fire monkey in it. A Fire Monkey!

So yeah, you can go see it now.

This is His review, you can read Her review here

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1. The Storm Riders (1998) - Her Review « 4eyes - His and Her movie reviews - August 25, 2006

[…] This is Her review, you can read His review here […]


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