DOUBLE WORLD (2020) short review

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One of the higher-profile Chinese productions to take the decision to skip theaters in the time of COVID-19 in favor of an online release (in this case, Iqiyi in the east and Netflix in the west), Teddy Chan’s Double World is an adaptation of the popular MMORPG Zhengtu. In a fantasy China divided in two warring states, Southern Zhao and Northern Yan, all Southern Zhao clans are called upon to send three of their best fighters to a massive martial contest whose winner will become General-in-Chief of the state. Among the contestants are an orphan with a mysterious past (Henry Lau), and a deserter (Peter Ho) with a mysterious past AND a vengeful agenda. This wildly uneven fantasy epic is narratively so shallow and mechanical it’s hard to care about anything that unfolds onscreen, despite the charismatic presence of people like Peter Ho (why this man isn’t an international star yet, we don’t know) and Jiang Luxia (making the most of yet another semi-feral short-haired woman-fighter role). Visually, there’s an interestingly elaborate set for the arena where the contest unfolds, beautiful traps and weaponry and rather well-animated dragons and scorpions, but also some eye-gouging green-screen work, the kind in which actors’ faces are still bathed in a sickly greenish hue even long after post-production work has been completed. The film’s main redeeming quality, outside of Ho’s intense, brooding presence, is some brutal, bloody and inventive action directing by the great Tung Wei. **1/2

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7 Comments

  1. So, a decade or so later, Jiang Luxia is still treading water in roles and films that are beneath her impressive martial arts skills. Why has nobody give her a decent break?

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  2. I wonder if it is because she isn’t “conventionally pretty” thus producers don’t see any box office appeal in her? She’s on a par with Japan’s Rina Takeda – great talent but not enough opportunities to show it.

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  3. Tobsco

     /  September 13, 2020

    I feel like the movie was a little bit rushed, that lady, how does his father know her and how did everyone just appear in the mystic forest? That girl that was freed too, when she freed the others, what happened to the gaurds or some sort of report that the caged people have gone missing? Just small things like that. Though it was nice to watch and entertaining, I just felt lost in some areas and some things did not make sense to me.

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