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Ti?n dì y?ng xióng (Warriors of Heaven and Earth)

Title: 天地英雄
English title: Warriors of Heaven and Earth
Directed by:
He Ping
Written by:
Bai Song, Chen Kuo-fu
Year: 2004

I have decided to start watching films in which the characters speak in Mandarin, not because I hope to understand what they are saying, but because I want to hear more spoken Chinese. Occasionally, I do understand what they say, but not very often. Even though many of these films are made for export, I still get a taste of China by watching them, which is also partly why I do it. As was the case with The Emperor and the Assassin, the films are sometimes brilliant as well, which certainly helps.

Regrettably, Warriors of Heaven and Earth does not come close to The Emperor and the Assassin, although they are set in a similar environment. The story is set much later, around 700 A.D. in which fugitive ex-lieutenant Li, who is to be hunted down for starting a mutiny by refusing to kill women and children prisoners. Japanese emissary to the Chinese court, Lai Xi is sent to kill Li, but recognises that his target is on an imperial mission and they postpone their final duel until they reach the capital. However, many perils awaits in the desert before they get their, since the caravan they have undertaken to protect is more valuable than it might seem at first.

To my mind, this is the major problem with this film is that it does what the Emperor and the Assassin, only not as good. Still, this film has certain merits which might make it worthwhile (I say might, because I am still quite not sure). Firstly, the sceneries are marvellous and covers a wide range of beautiful landscapes, nicely integrated into the narration. Secondly, the soundtrack succeeds in blending with the rest of the film and adding to the general atmosphere thus created.

This film lacks an interesting story, together with deep and moving themes, all this performed by brilliant actors. All this (and more) can be found in the Emperor and the Assassin, so I can see no reason at all to recommend this film.

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