Li stars as Ling Wei, a member of a religious sect trying to get out of the world of violence. Of course, the sect stumbles upon a war and find themselves embroiled in it, replete with supernatural battles and high-flying choreography.
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Notable mainly for its overuse of slow motion, its unbearably bad dubbing, and Li's fascination-du-jour with putting people into arm locks, there's absolutely nothing here to make the movie worth watching. Li, early in his career, spends most of the running time gawking at the scenery while he struggles to remember his lines. Cheaply produced and shot with a minimum of effort, this is one archival 'fu film that should have remained on ice.
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Sometimes, the mix results in a mind-blowing spectacle unlike any other. Quality action with amazing and exciting stunt work, as in 1999's The Matrix, can be a real gem. But too often Hollywood gets it wrong, even when they pay off Chinese directors. Flying ninjas and floating karate masters have been replaced by soaring Bronx detectives and slow motion kicking scientists. Mostly it's laughable. In Hollywood's rush to emulate the success of The Matrix, trademark Asian stunt choreography has become more of a joke than an art form. But Iron Monkey, the latest Asian import, shows us how to get it right.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.