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Starring: Seann William Scott and Chow Yun-Fat

Directed by: Paul Hunter

Written by: Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff (who write all their movies together)

John Woo needs to give up the "strings attached" flying crap and get back to some real fighting scenes. I knew from the opening sequence that I was not going to like the fight scenes in this movie and I was right. In Asia (I am told) these flying martial artists are essentially the same as Western superheros. Because of this no one over there bats an eyelash when a ninja can fly then we do when superman does. That is all well and good but I like to see my martial artists fight (see BloodSport, The Delta Force, Enter the Dragon, Force Five [1981] and The Karate Kid) rather than fly.

Of course, for us dim-witted Westerners the writers have explained the super powers by telling us that air is just like blood and bone and fire and water and stone, that you can walk on it and swim in it and, apparently, flip around and dance on it. All you have to do is believe. Only problem is, air isn’t like that at all.

On the other hand, I was fine with the magic age defying scroll, the protection of which was the basis for the plot. I guess I am bit of a fiction hypocrite believing in magic scrolls and not flying monks. Still, the fight scenes wrecked this movie for me.

Seann William Scott (the annoying, but funny, "Stifler" from the American Pie movies) was surprisingly tolerable in this movie and showed that maybe he needs to be cast in something more dramatic. Nothing real dramatic but something with drama like a made for TV movie. Chow Yun-Fat was also pretty good in this movie and it makes me thing that maybe the director, Paul Hunter, should be doing something with less fight in it and more human interaction.

Like most Disney-type worlds that one sees in movies these days, this movie takes place in a make-believe land where even the subway punks are clean and well-spoken. Still there was some good "dark" scenes in the Human Rights Building and Stifler’s pad which showed that someone on the crew wanted to try to do something with the set that would create mood.

If you like Martial Arts to be over the top with special effects then you will probably like this movie. The plot is fun, the action is pretty constant and the acting is better than tolerable. Maybe you could rent this while your wife or girlfriend is away (like I did) since she doesn’t want to see it anyway. On the other hand you could do yourself a favour and find a copy of the 1981 classic Force Five or even watch The Karate Kid again.

Wax on ... wax off.




 
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