Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
for
July 2020


I must say, I find it interesting that there are so very many foreign-made historical movies available out there. Don’t get me wrong; this is not a complaint! I love watching foreign films set in the time frame of the European middle ages and Renaissance. I’m just a bit surprised at how many of them there are. Just run through the list of “Foreign Films” available on Netflix, for example, and see how many Indian, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese films are available for you to watch. (I, of course, have it easier than that. Anna Sue has our home’s Netflix account, and as she looks through the current offerings to see which ones she would like to see herself, or that she thinks we should watch together, she is also looking for movies that I should review for you, and adds them into a separate Watch List just for me. So I don’t have to look for such movies myself; she’s already done it.) Anyway, this is in part a long way of telling you how I happened to stumble across this month’s movie: it’s a Chinese-made historical movie set during the last century of the Ming Dynasty; specifically, in the years from 1557 to 1561. It involves Japanese invaders, entrenched Chinese government bureaucrats, issues like logistics and tactics, and a rising star Chinese general who must fight both the Japanese and his own country’s bureaucracy. And so it is that this month Da’ud Bob reviews for you the 2017 film, God of War.

Starring Wenzhuo Zhao as General Qi Jiguang, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung as General Yu Dayou, Regina Wan as Madame Qi, Keisuke Koide as Yamagawa, Yasuaki Kurata as Kumasawa, Wei Hu as Zhao Dahe, Timmy Hung as Chen Dacheng, and Kazuharu Kimoto as Kashiwabara, the overall plot is described as: During the 16th century, Japanese pirates proliferate along the Chinese coastline. In 1557, the pirates take over Cengang in Zhejiang. After months of futile advances, Commander Yu finally defeats them under the leadership of newly promoted General Qi. The pirates, however, manage to escape. In 1561, the pirates regroup and once again attack the coastal cities of China. With both the cities of Xinhe and Taizhou under attack, Qi's army is caught between two fires. Even though most family members of his soldiers are located in Xinhe, Qi makes the tough decision to go to Taizhou and leaves his wife in charge of the fight against the pirates in Xinhe, knowing that the defeat of the pirates at Taizhou will bring lasting peace to the coastal cities.

Good points: The movie had a “Historical Consultant”. The shields. The armor. The costuming in general. The staff fight choreography. The climactic fight between the Chinese general and the leader of the Japanese choreography. Training the “new army”.

Bad points: There is a lot of death and blood. The first half of the film seemed to be trying to go in too many directions, and some of those storylines are pretty much dropped through the second half. A little more focus in the first half would probably have left the whole film feeling a little more unified and cohesive.

Zero breasts. Five gallons of blood. 217 dead bodies. Musket fu. Arrow fu. Staff fu. Kung fu. Hand cannon fu. Sword fu. Katana fu. Langxian (literally translated as “wolf brush”) fu.  (It’s a branched, multi-tipped spear with blades attached to the branches.) Heads roll. Gratuitous arm wrestling. Gratuitous Ming bureaucratic wrangling. Academy Award nomination to Wenzhuo Zhao as General Qi Jiguang for, in a quiet moment with his wife that seems designed to help humanize them both, telling Madame Qi that she is “invincible”. A 97 on the Vomit Meter. 2½ stars. Da’ud Bob says, “It’s not quite another Red Cliff, but then, what is? Check it out!”


 

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!


Mulan
July 24, 2020
To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China's greatest heroines in the process. A live-action feature film based on Disney's animated Mulan, starring Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Li Gong, Jason Scott Lee.
The Last Duel
December 25, 2020 (limited release) and January 8, 2021 (wide release)
Set in 14th century France, King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel. Directed by Ridley Scott, from a screenplay written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer.




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