Friday, June 2, 2017

God of War (SIFF 2017) - Movie Review

The Movie: God of War

The Director: Gordon Chan

The Cast: Sammo Hung, Vincent Zhao, Regina Wan, Yasuaki Kurata, Keisuke Koide

The Story: During the 16th century, pirates rule the Chinese coastline, pillaging the small villages and terrorizing the citizens.

The Review:
Big. Bold. Epic. Gordon Chan has been directing movie for nearly memorable 30 years and this movie will find itself near the top of his extensively impressive resume. Visually, the film is filled with colorful scenery and panoramic shots that take full advantage of the beautiful coastline landscapes. In other areas, like city streets and fortress walls, budget limitations are pretty apparent although the lack of scale in those moments really doesn't take anything away from the story itself. The action is pretty much non stop and, when things do slow down, the cast takes over and delivers some very entertaining and enthusiastic performances.

As General Qi, Wenzhuo Zhao headlines a cast filled with veteran actors including Regina Wan, Yasuaki Kurata, Keisuke Koide, and the one and only Sammo Hung. I was really impressed with the level of expertise in executing all of the fantastic fight scenes and appropriately dramatic moments, but what sets this film apart is that it is actually quite funny as well. Zhao and Wan work really well together as husband and wife and their relationship, which is founded on mutual respect and admiration, ends up being the real heart and soul of the story. While it was great to see Sammo Hung do his thing, especially during a sparring session between him and Zhao, but his time on screen was unfortunately limited.

The Verdict:
God of War is one of the better action films I have seen so far this year. Gordon Chan holds nothing back in his attempt at creating an epic historical drama that celebrates China's military history and I feel like we are going to see a lot more movies like this as the Chinese film making industry continues to step up their game.

God of War is an official selection of the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival.

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