WARRIORS OF THE NATION (黄飞鸿之怒海雄风) [BLU-RAY] (2020)
SYNOPSIS: At the end of the Chino-Japanese War, a top military officer, Zhang Zhidong, is kidnapped in the middle of the night by a militant organization called the White Lotus Society. When he overhears a sinister plot to overthrow the central government by China s own military officials, Wong Fei Hung knows he must rescue Zhang to protect China and prevent another war from happening. With Vincent Zhao reprising his legendary role, follow the next chapter in Wong Fei Hung s story with spectacular classic martial arts action.
Watching Warriors of the Nation is like a throwback to the early 90’s where HK cinema is still thriving and very much alive. A time where martial-arts extravaganza are at its peak. And it’s also a period where Tsui Hark and Jet Li brought us the impeccable Once Upon A Time in China series.
For those who are too young to remember, Jet Li starred in the first three instalments only to have Wong Fei-hung being replaced by Vincent Zhao after a reported rift between Li and Tsui. Because of the iconic role he played, Zhao will forever be remembered as Wong Fei-hung after Jet Li.
While Zhao’s star power has faded over the years, he seems to be making a small comeback in the Mainland playing once again Wong Fei-hung in the terrible Jeff Lau’s comedy, Kung Fu League and The Unity of Heroes.
In Warriors of the Nation, Wong Fei Hong has taken upon himself to rescue a high-ranking official who is being kidnapped by the evil Japanese headed by Kenya Sawada (Shinjuku Incident) and his assistant, Miya Muqi (Kung Fu Yoga). The script likely clobbered overnight by Zhao and a few others is shamelessly a mouthpiece for promoting patriotism and national pride and nothing more than a TV movie to throw in some decent action sequences involving some old-school wire work martial arts.
Warriors of the Nation in fact is the second Wong Fei-hung movie produced and starring Zhao. Let’s face it, it has nothing to do with Hark’s originals and in terms of plotting, action and production scale, fared much worse than Hark’s series which was done in the early 90’s. In fact, part of the plotting is clumsily taken out of Once Upon A Time in China 2 where Wong has to deal with the menacing cult, White Lotus Sect. Even the performance from some of the supporting characters are cringy and amateurish.
Directed by HK seasoned editor turned director Marco Mak, Warriors of the Nation is best watched with very low expectations. Trust us. You get more kick watching Tsui Hark’s Once Upon A Time in China entire franchise than this frail attempt.
The HD sound and display only magnify the poor production values on your HD TV.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee