21 October 2017

GOD OF WAR. (2017) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.



GOD OF WAR. (2017) DIRECTED BY GORDON CHAN. STARRING SAMMO HUNG, VINCENT ZHAO, REGINA WAN, KEISUKE KOIDE AND YASUAKI KURATA. LANGUAGE: MANDARIN CHINESE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

God of War
Out on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital 16th October

Beautifully staged, elegantly choreographed”  - ScreenAnarchy
Sword-fighting and arrow shooting action done right ” - EFilmCritic.com
Among the best of the genre” 4 stars - Asian Film Strike

'He who can prevail in chaos is regarded as a God...'

I've pretty much watched a ton of these Asian martial arts 'actioners' by this stage and, while I'm by no means an expert on the genre, I can definitely say that I'm enjoying them more and more as I go along. 'GOD OF WAR' is one of the best yet.

Non-stop martial arts action might sound dull and boring to the uninitiated but when you see how well it's all done, how slick and stylish the moves, it's hard not to become an instant convert. I've personally been a fan of these films for a while now and, as long as they keep churning 'em out, I'll certainly keep watching 'em.

While the names in these films are sometimes hard to pick up, especially because even the subtitles seem to whizz by at lightning speed, I loved 'GOD OF WAR' because the plot was relatively easy to follow, and not needlessly complicated like the plots of some other similar films.

Basically, we're back in sixteenth century China and the east coast is being attacked by marauding (is there any other kind?) Japanese samurai pirates from, um, Japan. The pirates, especially their long-haired leader, look a lot like a Japanese Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.

They have long dark locks, designer stubble and a rude, crude swaggery walk. They like to grab their crotches and talk loudly and publicly about how much they need a woman. In fact, the pirates regard it as their God-given right to rape the women who fall into their hands and they like to plunder the odd bit of loot as well. True samurais don't rape and plunder, of course, but try telling these guys that.

The pirates' attitude can be summed up by the following quote from one of their number: 'We're here to make money and buy weapons in order that Japan can rule the world. Nothing else matters.' Well, again I'm no expert but I do believe that Japan has always pretty much been a warlike kind of country. Look at the way they kept fighting the Second World War long after everyone else threw in the towel...!

It falls to the lot of General Qi Jiguang from the little Chinese village of Xinhe to repel the attack of the pirates. I love this guy. He's honourable and diligent and honest, and a good husband to his feisty missus. He's a superb fighter too, both in the arts of sword-and-stick fighting, but he's no slouch with his fists either.

Fist-fighting features in the film right alongside the sword-and-stick shenanigans, and the pirates, who approach the battle-field arrogantly fluttering golden fans over their heads, possibly as a 'screw-you' to their opponents, have actually got muskets as well.

Pretty much every conceivable type of fighting features here. The film should be of great interest both to martial arts fans but also to history students who are studying sixteenth-century Oriental warfare. It's all in here, folks.

The costumes, weapons and fighting techniques are all authentic and terrific to look at, elevating 'GOD OF WAR' above other martial arts flicks. I love the helmets with the long horse-hair ponytails hanging down from them, the kind you might see in museums sometimes.

General Qi is a tough Ming soldier (from the Ming Dynasty, I think that means?) but methinks he's a little pussy-whipped by his gobby little Missus. We see her giving him a sexy massage while telling him all the while how he should be running his soldiering business and commanding his troops. Talk about nagging, seriously.

Strangely enough, Qi doesn't tell her to get her pretty little arse back to the kitchen where it belongs and mind her business, like a lot of hubbies would have done back then. He actually seems to be taking her advice seriously because he knows that she's a smart cookie. 

His men, however, think differently about her. They think she's mouthy and pushy (weren't those two of the Seven Dwarves?) and that Qi should take her in hand before it's too late. Fat chance of that happening, haha.

There's this hilarious scene where Qi is a tiny bit late for dinner with his wife and his men. Mrs. Qi is in a towering temper over what she sees as her husband's lack of consideration for her. Out of spite, she tells everyone that the food's ruined and dinner's off. Clearly, wives haven't really changed much in, like, five hundred or so years...!

The hungry soldiers plan a way for Qi to put Mrs. Qi firmly back in her box. Personally, I'd rather take on the pirates single-handedly than try to tackle the arm-wrestling, tough-as-old-boots Mrs. Qi. And in the meantime, Qi's got an army to whip into shape for the upcoming battles as well. Maybe he'll have more luck there...

There's a great training montage in which happy soldiers under Qi's command run along the beach in perfect unison, singing the following inspiring words: 'If we stand united, we can bring down mountains! If we are loyal and patriotic, we can beat all obstacles! The General cares about us like we're family. If we break the rules, we shall be punished. If we do well, we shall be rewarded.'

And so on and so forth. It's a great song. Number One on iTunes at the moment, unless I'm much mistaken. Qi's methods seem to work as well. He turns what basically amounts to an unruly rabble into a lean, mean and ultra-disciplined fighting machine, to the point where someone remarks in awe: 'The Ming army was reborn under Qi's command.' It surely was.

The defence of the little village of Xinhe is spearheaded by Qi's feisty wife and a Ming soldier called Brother Yang. It's like the scenes from THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS in which the Orcs and trolls and other assorted monsters attack Helm's Deep under the evil Sauron's orders.

Someone even dies Haldir-style in 'GOD OF WAR' and, if you remember, that was the most beautiful and moving slow-motion death in the entire THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Mainly because the divinely blonde-haired Elf Haldir was such a big horny ride, haha.

Things get really heated on the batlements of Xinhe. Can Mrs. Qi and her ladies and the remnants of the villagers hold off the pirates while her hubby General Qi is busy elsewhere? He's actually busy walking away from explosions without looking back, if you must know. Cool guys don't look at explosions, always remember that. It'll serve you well...

GOD OF WAR is available to buy now on Blu-Ray and DVD from KALEIDOSCOPE ENTERTAINMENT and WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT in conjunction with FETCH PUBLICITY. It contains a 'making of' featurette as well.

Key Talent: 
Sammo Hung (Triad Wars, IP Man 2)
Vincent Zhao (True Legend, Sacrifice)
Yasuaki Kurata (Blood: The Last Vampire, Fist of Legend)
Gordon Chan (Director, The Medallion, Fist of Legend)


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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