Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Brotherhood of Blades (2014) NYAFF2015

Hailed by the NYAFF staff as one of the best Chinese period action films of recent memory this film is an action lovers delight.  The action is so good that any reservations I have are brushed away by the sequences.

The very convoluted plot has three Imperial Assassins tasked with finding and killing the leader of power block that has fallen into disfavor. What happens once they find him sets the table for the three friends ending up in a heap of trouble as the people who sent them on the mission  turn against them (or at least become highly suspicious) and the people they are supposed to be wiping out try to kill them. Mix in a couple of ill fated romances, a brigand who knows a secret about one of the assassins, secret relationships and you have a very messy tale.

The plot is needlessly complex with some twists and turns that had me and my dad backing up the DVD to try and figure out why something happened.The whys and hows aren't always clear and there was a point near the end where I felt like I missed about 20 minutes of exposition. Yes the basic through line works but the extra stuff gets really jumbled.

Thankfully the film rises above it in two key places.

First the film has some kick ass characters. Yes the three leads are amazing. Their friendship makes and carries the film. You know that they would all die for each other and it drives the emotional plot along. Additionally many of the secondary characters such as the courtesan loved by one of our heroes end up with nice arcs.

Lastly and most importantly the action is incredible. Even if there is too much rapid cutting and shaky cam the fight scenes are amazing.  Sequences such as the court yard battle or the final fight are brilliant pieces of action choreography.

I am so pissed I didn't see this on the big screen.

Don't live a life full of regret see BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES when it plays on the big screen at NYAFF on July 11.

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