Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang YangWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Storm Riders”, “300”, “The Spirit”, "Ming Ming"
"Storm Warriors" has a lot of fans. We have the type who read the 1989 source material and saw the first movie and we also have the electronic type that are brought it by the producers in large numbers to blow at Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng's hair. So which one outnumbers the other?
More graphic novel movie than martial arts epic, this sequel to 1998's HK cinema milestone "Storm Riders" is the greatest incarnation of Ma Wing Shing's celebrated "Fung Wan" comic and nothing short of box office blitz is expected when entrusted in the able hands of directors Danny and Oxide Pang. However, when the brothers themselves tell you that no decent movie critic can avoid comparing this wuxia reupdate to that Spartan SFX feast "300" because it uses the same software (!) that's when you know you have a novelty movie in your hands.
Indeed it is special effect before story as we are swirled and twirled into the windy world of Nip Fung (Ekin Cheng) and Bou Keng Wan (Aaron Kwok) as the two heroes (and their emo hair) return to the silver screen after so long to battle evil once more. The story starts off coherently with some reference to the first movie and we are soon made to understand that this will be a two-hour battle with Wind, Cloud and Nameless (Kenny Ho) against evil Lord Godless (Simon Yam) and his equally evil son Heart (Nicholas Tse). Layabout Piggy King (Lam Suet) joins the story later on, together with Lord Wicked (Kenny Wong Tak Bun), Second Dream (Charlene Choi) and Chu Chu (Tang Yan).
However, this synopsis is too simple - or frankly, unnecessary. In a CGI-heavy project such as this, we are only interested to see kungfu moves and stupendous swordplay that can only jump out of a comic book or a computer game, not academic debate about why the Japanese warlord played by Simon Yam is so incredibly hard to kill. The supporting cast have little to do. That's why you won't mind soft porn actor Kenny Wong as an armless sifu or cute newcomer Tang Yan, who replaces Shu Qi as Cloud's romantic interest Chu Chu to no visible effect. Like "300", we want to see how many will die and how war is big and bloody. With that in mind, "Storm Warriors" is a beautiful wallpaper movie (as one reviewer called it), with enough stop-mo scenes to effectively render it a show to be photographed and framed as much as to be watched.
Complete with waterdrop-splitting CGI work, "Storm Warriors" is undeniably a must-watch movie if only to see how far HK cinema has come. Detractors and sceptics can wait for the swords to cross again in "Storm Warriors III" (and there will be one, if the abrupt ending says anything) and wish for improvement but anybody who has ever seen the first movie will simply have to catch "Storm Warriors". We can't be sure if turning evil has anything to do with it but the fortysomething duo will still look just as young in a third movie. Watch "Storm Warriors" to see Ekin and Aaron in the same frame, this reviewer says. That ageless skin is no CGI!Cinema Online, 07 December 2009