Posts Tagged ‘Chao Deng’

“SHADOW” My rating: C+ 

116 minutes | No MPAA rating

There was a time, children, back in the primordial 1990s, when Chinese director Yimou Zhang was on the cutting edge of cinema.

Never mind that he was working in an artistically repressive Communist society — Yimou excelled at turning out thought-provoking period dramas like “Red Sorghum,” “Ju Dou” and “Raise the Red Lantern.” Turning to a modern setting he delivered the sublime “The Road Home.”

Then Yimou discovered kung fu and since then has been devoted to lavish chock-sockey extravaganzas like “Hero,” “House of Flying Daggers,” and the execrable Matt Damon spectacle “The Great Wall.” Forget the intimate drama; he’s now painting on a massive and messy scale.

His latest, “Shadow,” is typical of the new Yimou.

For starters it is an absolute triumph of cinematic design, telling an ancient tale through sets and costumes reduced to the simplest black and white. The only touches of color are provided by human flesh and copious splatters of gore.

The story?  Sheesh, I was afraid you’d ask about that.

Well, there’s this kingdom, Pei, ruled by a handsome but utterly corrupt young idiot (Ryan Zheng) who comes off as the Asian equivalent of Jeoffrey Baratheon.

The king’s success lies largely with the prowess of his general, Zi Yu. Except that Zi Yu isn’t who he seems.

Okay, listen carefully. I’m not going through this twice.


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