DYNASTY WARRIORS (2021) review

An adaptation of the Japanese hack-and-slash video game of the same title that has spanned 24 years and 15 consoles, Roy Chow’s Dynasty Warriors was shot in 2017 but dragged its feet through post-production for 4 years due to financial issues, finally landing with a thud at the Chinese box-office, with an online release following less than a week later. Like the video game, it follows the epic events of Luo Guanzhong’s fundamental novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms while infusing it with fantasy tropes: no mythical creatures, but near-superhuman heroes wielding weapons infused with supernatural energy. And so the future lords and generals of the Three Kingdoms era: Liu Bei (Tony Yang), Guan Yu (Han Geng), Zhang Fei (Justin Cheung), and their future enemy Cao Cao (Wang Kai), as they lead the resistance against imperial usurper Dong Zhuo (Lam Suet) and his undefeated general, Lv Bu (Louis Koo).

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ALL U NEED IS LOVE (2021) short review

Ten Hong Kong production companies and two dozen Hong Kong celebrities unite forces, for free, in All U Need is Love, an ensemble comedy shepherded by old hand Vincent Kok, for the benefit of local film industry workers painfully impacted by the Covid crisis. From these best of intentions emerges a scattershot collection of mediocre vignettes as we follow Hongkongers quarantined in a hotel: Eric Tsang and Tony Leung Ka Fai reprise their horny characters from Pang Ho Cheung’s classic Men Suddenly in Black, looking for a sexcapade within the hotel’s limited roster of young females; hotel manager Michael Hui grandstands while trying desperately to escape quarantine (one of his attempts is foiled by a random Jackie Chan appearance, in his briefest fight ever against Ken Lo), Julian Cheung and Louis Cheung trade threats but warm to each other as rival gangsters forced to share a room… There’s more, but nothing much worth mentioning. In 75 minutes the film hurries clumsily to the conclusion that love conquers all, but keeps dropping cameos (Louis Koo, Francis Ng, Raymond Wong, Yuen Qiu as – you guessed it – the landlady from Kung Fu Hustle…) because who would keep watching anyway? But it’s a benefit film, hurried into production under strained circumstances, so it’s hard to pounce on it too hard. It’s like 1991’s The Banquet all over again, only with much fewer stars. (no rating under the circumstances)