When I saw this movie with a friend of mine who generally derided martial arts movies for their silliness, even she was amazed by the battle choreography and deeply touched by the story. Intensifying the combat is the simple romance which captures an intimate quality often missing from these movies. The skillful translation, combined with the subtle yet effective acting, layers the fundamentals of the story with emotional clarity that conveys these feelings, instead of just telling the player of them. The scenery is often beautiful, capturing the Romanticism of the setting and the story.
And the battle scenes... Awe-inspiring in their speed and athletics, I've never seen more exhilarating physical confrontations. I cannot describe the breathless sense of urgency enjoined by these fights, which are tests are character as much as battles. Watching the battles more than once reveals a remarkable level of depth and ingenuity behind the choreography. The greatest combative moment in the film comes in an unconventional setting: treetops. Here, the characters bound across the leafy canopy, trading blows with a shriek of steel that seems out of place in a setting so exquisite. It's like poetry in motion. Just watching it gave me shivers.
An amazing film; so much more than a martial arts movie.
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