Film

The Storm Warriors is awesome. You just don't realize it yet!

The Storm Warriors (风云II), a CGI martial-arts extravaganza starring Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng, opened last week in Beijing.

The film is a sequel to The Storm Riders (风云之雄霸天下, 1998) and like its predecessor is based on the martial arts comic book series Fung Wan by Hong Kong illustrator Ma Wing Shing.

Although reviewers have praised the film's action sequences, it has drawn a bit of criticism over its thin storyline. The Storm Warriors compresses a lengthy narrative arc from the original graphic novel into 100 minutes. And there are just 200 lines of dialogue in the entire film!

Audiences unfamiliar with the source have reported confusion about plot details, character motivations, and the relationship, if any, the sequel has to the events of the first movie.

The producers responded in The Beijing News yesterday in the form of a full-page ad that answered fifteen frequently-asked questions about the film.

The lengthy fight scene that closes the film came in for particular criticism. In a review for Twitch, James Marsh wrote:

The entire last half hour consists of one long stand off between the two titular warriors, as their mullets flutter in the wind, they pout at each other intensely and occasionally whip up a computer-generated energy field to hurl at each other. At one point they actually stop fighting, glance up at a remote, yet infinitely more cinematic mountain top ledge, and relocate there to continue their staring contest in more aesthetically pleasing surroundings.

And mainland columnist Han Haoyue closed his review with similar sentiments:

Even though it's an action flick, the last third of the movie still seems too long. The final boss, Lord Godless, is dispensed with early enough that the last part of the film becomes an "exhibition match" between the two brothers, only what they're demonstrating is not tai chi — their strikes and clashes topple the mountains and split the earth. Audiences who like stories and who are seeking emotional scenes can take a nap, but young people who never tire of fight scenes can anticipate watching Uncle Kwok and Uncle Cheng turn The Storm Warriors into 2012.

The advert argues that the critics got it all wrong:

Was the final 20-minute duel at the cliff too long?

No! Thinking people can see how that fight develops the stories and characters of Cloud, Wind, and Chu Chu.

First, this fight allows you to see the growth of the "emotionless God of Death," Cloud. You may not remember how in The Storm Riders, when Cloud wanted to kill Wind, he was absolutely ruthless, and if Charity had not taken the blow meant for him, Wind would already be dead. But in the fight in The Storm Warriors, Cloud holds back, hoping that Wind will come to his senses. Yet amid his pain after Wind goes crazy and kills Chu Chu, Cloud throws himself into creating the masterful "ba" sword style, and then, right at the instant he is about to take Wind's life, he suddenly realizes that Wind has started to turn back and saves Wind and Second Dream, though it means that he falls off the cliff himself.

In addition, the love shown by Chu Chu and Second Dream is mainly found in this section. Tiffany Tang's expression of innocence and purity as she portrays Chu Chu being put to an undeserved death is enough to make audiences weep.

So if you have any complaints about The Storm Warriors, you obviously didn't watch carefully enough.

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There are currently 4 Comments for The Storm Warriors is awesome. You just don't realize it yet!.

Comments on The Storm Warriors is awesome. You just don't realize it yet!

this is totally lame argument

'Lame' is an understatement. It's crap.

the storm warriors is an incredible movie.

and anyone who says they should try a "simple" approach in adapting a live-action version of a manga for the silver screen is insane. the amount of fighting, use of slow-motion and stunning cgi bring the atmosphere of the manga to life.

i will agree, it might have made more sense to split this into two movies leaving the first one on a cliffhanger (evil wind at large with the dragonbone). but i like that the pang bros stayed true to the story. the fighting and cgi in the final fight beautifully demonstrate cloud's hesitance to finish off wind despite the fact that wind becomes more and more consumed by evil. finally we see cloud, the ultimate warrior for good who has mastered his own immature inadequacies (essentially the plot of the storm riders) defeating his counterpart, now completely consumed by ultimate evil. not since the matrix revolutions have cgi and masterful choreography been so perfectly used to illustrate complex emotions (eg cloud's inability to finish wind) and major themes of good and evil (eg cloud's ba technique represented as golden fire ripping through the black cloud of evil chi emanating from wind).

it is a shame that critics fail to see how fighting and cgi can be used to tell an incredible story. it is the same thing critics of the matrix failed to realize. they blame audiences for being too intoxicated by the glow of cgi when critics themselves fail to recognize that the elements of action movies (especially martial arts films) that make them exciting also add depth to the story and characters.

as a side note, i think there may be a deeper meaning to the story of the storm warriors. as i watched it i felt the pang bros were making a statement about the way hollywood has glamorized action movies, stripping them of all meaning. similar to de palma's postmodern critique on postmodernism in scarface, i feel the pang bros make a critique on hollywood's infatuation with meaningless cgi with a big budget, cgi heavy flick. i could go into a big explanation about wind representing hollywood and cloud representing hong kong cinema, but i think i've typed enough for one comment.

yah, they all just dont appreciate the movie at all, they just watch the whole movie without looking the deep side of the story... And i like this movie. and i like all the story and legends of wind & cloud made by wing shing ma.

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