Friday, June 10, 2011

14 Blades Movie Review

Kate Tsui as Tuo Tuo attacks with veiled aggression.

With Daniel Lee at the Helm and Donnie Yen and Wei Zhao starring I had high hopes for 14 blades to be as long on plot development as the action. Unlike Hero and Crouching Tiger, 14 Blades is not so sharp in the story line. The Chase of Donnie Yen's character "Green Dragon" is from the elite guard he was in, and that initial story line is never fully developed, why he was being chased and what happened before that. Donnie Yen and Wei don't seem to be fully into the storyline and dialogue, except when the action is involved.

Plot development aside, 14 Blades cruises into high gear during the action sequences. The facial expressions, intensity level and even filming technique are on a much higher level. Donnie is a fantastic fighter, displaying the speed and power other screen fighters only dream about. Donnie has several fight sequences in the film and this is a must see for all Donnie fans, and martial arts fans. Notable is that Donnie packed on probably 20 pounds of muscle for the role and looks the part Even the waif-like Wei gets in on the action, although she is so cute and adorable it is hard to believe she could even hurt a fly.

The same cannot be said for Kate Tsui and her character Tuo Tuo. She has four (yes four!) epic, crazy fight scenes full of wire-work, cgi and she had the pissed off facial expression that would make men cower in fear over the former real life Miss Hong Kong and her snaking steel weapon. She has some acting chops as well, and seems into the overall story better than the two leads. Her mysterious character was unfortunately underdeveloped.

At 20 million US dollars, this was a big budget film for China, with high powered stars. With a running time of 1 hour and 45 minutes before credit crawl, this should have been a 2 hour and 15 or 20 minute epic, with the storyline laying the perfect backdrop to the action. The short running time really hurt the flow of the film.

What does this all mean for the viewer. I rate this movie a rent, probably not a purchase, unless you are an Asian film or Donnie Yen fan.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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