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  Publicity Stills of
"Storm Rider: Clash of Evils"
(Courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films)

Director: Dante Lam
Cast: Nicolas Tse, Richie Ren
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.stormrider-clash.com/

Opening Day: 9 October 2008


The emperor destroys The Sword Worship Villa, central China's top sword-maker, alleging that its people conspired to overthrow him. The young master of the villa, Ao Jue is the sole survivor. The Ao family has cast Jue a sword which can only be completed and its power unleashed with the blood of the Fire Kirin. However the Fire Kirin has been killed by Wind and Cloud and disappeared from the face of the earth. Ao Jue can only restrain his anger and live in exile in the West City. As the only two people in the world who have Kirin blood running in their veins, Wind and Cloud gets embroiled and a deadly calamity ensues...

Movie Review:

It must be some sort of karmic law: every time Moviexclusive.com sends your reviewer to an animated film, it turns out to be a traumatic experience only slightly more enjoyable than a car crash. Which, incidentally, is probably the best description for this movie.

The brooding figures of Wind and Cloud are back, this time in animated form. If memory serves correctly, the original Storm Riders was a fairly entertaining romp, filled with lots of good looking people and some cheesy CGI. While a live action sequel is on the way, this movie is a sort of companion piece to the movie and the original cartoon strip. But it still obeys the laws of the original, namely, a) Wind and Cloud must pose broody-ly every 15 minutes or so while staring at some distant point on the horizon, as their long, soft, L’Oreal-conditioned hair flaps in the wind, and b) female characters must be sweet, achingly beautiful (the cute factor is optional) and have the severe hots for our brooding heroes, following which they must suffer and/or preferably die a noble death.

There are some striking images and fancy swordplay, with an epic showdown between Wind and Cloud within the first 15 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s nothing that hasn’t already been seen in 10,000 other wu xia films. As cliché mounts upon cliché, this particular animation begins to feel like every kung fu movie ever made. Vengeance-obsessed Ao Jue, who has surely emerged straight from some retro Street Fighter revival, distinguishes himself in a random fight with some Nameless (yes, that’s really his name) guy over a fish, complete with a cheesy fishing analogy about the cruel, meaningless nature of existence. It is surely not a good sign when your audience can’t help sniggering in the middle of what is surely meant to be a deep and meaningful soliloquy, replete with Buddhist philosophising. Yes, we get it, the world is a cruel place filled with needless suffering, like your reviewer having to sit through this bad, bad movie.

Now, all of this might be tolerable if there was at least a coherent storyline. But it has far too many mystical swords and ancient feuds to keep track of, and Moviexclusive.com gave up the ghost of its vain attempt to summarise the plot about 20 minutes in. As if this weren’t enough, the Canto-accented Mandarin of Richie Ren and Nicholas Tse has an unintentionally comic effect on proceedings. While your reviewer should surely have paid more attention in Chinese class, their mispronunciation did little to add clarity to the narrative. Sadly, the subtitles were of little help, being fairly horrendous in the best tradition of all those 80s Hong Kong movies you ever saw. In particular, the killer line, “You will become a manic depressive killing machine!”, gave your reviewer a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, as childhood memories came rushing back in a flood of mangled grammar and tortured syntax.

Movie Rating:

(Wait for the live-action sequel. On second thought, maybe not)

Review by Nicholas Yong


. Evangelion 1.0: You Are Not Alone (2007)

. Vexille (2007)

. Dragon Tiger Gate (2006)

. Brave Story (2006)

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