Saturday, January 28, 2012
Wind Blast (2010) Celebrating Chinese New Year!
From Qunshu Gao, the director of The Message and Old Fish, comes a film that almost no one has seen or knows exists...at least with in my small cadre of Asian film loving friends. Whats worse is that if you look at IMDB the rating is around 4 out of 10. What film did they see?
This is an impossible to classify homage, satire, action, crime, western, form over content film. This is a film that you're either going to accept for it's off base self or hate for it's eclectic nature.
The plot has some cops chasing a hit man and his girlfriend into the desert. The pair are also being chased by people sent by a former employer who is unhappy with how a previous job turned out. Everyone chases and fights each other over and over again.
I don't think it makes a great deal of sense. I'm sure it does to the characters on screen but something has gotten lost on the cutting room floor. With the result we in the audience have to take things on faith since things are only half heartedly explained. I've seen the film one and half times now and quite frankly I still don't completely understand it.
What I do understand is that this film is a series of stunning set pieces. These are all high octane action sequences involving guns and fists and horses and cars and dump trucks. Its a mixture of realistic action and your typical "over the top" Hong Kong style action. You know some of this couldn't happen, some of the moves would kill the people involved or could only happen if you have wires and special effects. Its all so well done that you simply accept it. Believe me the dump truck chase and the final ghost town sequences are going to get your blood pumping (and the other ones aren't bad either)
In a weird way this is one of the most action packed westerns you'll ever see.
Make no mistake, despite being set now as evidenced by GPS, computers, land rovers and automatic weapons this film is a western. If you stripped away all of the modern trappings this film would easily work as a gritty film from Europe.(I say Europe because American Westerns are rarely this cynical). It also has a good many of the Western cliches worked in (cowboy hats, chases on horse back, ghost town, stampede, the desert setting...) that you'd have to be blind not to catch what it's striving to be.
The problem with the film is that the story is so slender and the details are so off-handedly given that it's kind of hard to fully give yourself over to it. It can be tough going outside of the motion simply because we're essentially flying blind or watching a slice of violent life. It's a flaw, if you want to call it that, that I find in many martial arts films from the 1970's and 80's where they simply want give us a slender plot because they need to have something to hang the action sequences from. The most extreme notion of this are some the recent Thai action films such a BKO Bangkok Knockout which dispenses with plot after the first 15 minutes for a 90 minute fight scene.
I really do like the film, but I'll be the first to admit that the film made better sense the second time since I could rely on having all the plot in my head already. This is a film I can easily recommend to anyone who likes action films because this film is full of it.
Currently out on DVD around the world but not officially in the US.