The battle at the center of this self-proclaimed “steampunk–kung fu” hybrid pits the forces of tradition against those of modernity: A remote village in 19th-century China fights off an incursion from Westernized enemies trying to bring the railroad to the region. The film itself is similarly torn between old and new impulses, combining a classic martial-arts movie story about a prodigy (Yuan Xiaochao) on a quest for superior wushu knowledge with gussied-up graphics and animated cut scenes inspired by Capcom video games. If director Stephen Fung’s frenetic visual style is the Red Bull in this cinematic cocktail, then the dozy plotting is the vodka—leaving you feeling momentarily excited but ultimately narcotized.
Follow Matt Singer on Twitter: @mattsinger
|Release date:||Friday October 19 2012|