My Take on 'The Taking of Tiger Mountain'

Before I write my review of the movie, I would like my readers to know that this post is not sponsored so anything you hear from me is 100% my opinion.

So here are some things you should know about the movie:

Directed by: TSUI Hark 徐克

Starring : Zhang Hanyu 张涵予, Lin Gengxin林更新, Tong Liya佟丽娅, Tony Leung Ka Fai梁家辉, Yu Nan余 男, Han Geng韩 庚 

Brief Synopsis:

Adapted from the famous Chinese novel "Tracks in the Snowy Forest" set during the civil war era of 1946, when ruthless bandits occupied Northeastern China and threatened the lives of civilians...there. The most powerful bandit of all was Mountain Eagle (Tony LEUNG Ka-fai), with an impenetrable fortress up in Tiger Mountain and armed with strong artillery. Unit 203 of the Liberation Army, led by SHAO (LIN Gengxin), was crossing the Northeastern region when they encountered Eagle's men raiding a village. SHAO decided to stay and fight against Eagle. Headquarters sent a skilled investigator YANG (ZHANG Hanyu), who infiltrated Eagle's gang as an undercover. The duo was soon engaged in a battle of wits with the cold-blooded Eagle, deep inside the snowy forest.

Here is the trailer of the movie:

Ok, let me first start out with my thoughts after seeing the trailer. 

There were some things I didn't really like but of course, there had to be some things which prompted me to want to watch the movie. Well, for me I didn't like the background of the story. The civil war, the setting being China, I will elaborate on why later. I still remember my response to Kenny's question before the movie began, when he asked me what I felt about the trailer. My reply was 'Let's just watch it.'  I am the type of person who doesn't like to watch trailers and read up on movies if I want to watch them because I don't want to know everything about the movie before it even begins.

I like Chinese wuxia flicks and the thing about wuxia flicks is that there is a mix of action, wits and emotions to it and this movie seems to offer that, at least the first two.

When the movie commenced, I found myself lost. For a good reason too. The introduction of the movie began with a modern, present day life scenario and it was kind of like a flashback. When the actual event took place, people were shooting at each other and I didn't know who was from what faction. It was only later that I learned that there were two main factions, the Liberation Army and the Eagle gang. What took me a while to get used to was the accent and the choice of words. Taking place in China, you can imagine their use of Chinese and I had to make sense of the politics going on between the factions.

What really impressed me though was the CG, especially since bullets and explosions aren't very common in Chinese movies. Can you imagine bullets or grenades being thrown and exploding in slow motion? I was told earlier that this was the director's specialty which explains why such scenes were really good.

Shao, the leader of the unit

This is the undercover infiltrating a gang kind of plot, so it is really about Yang's wits and how he survives in the gang. 

Yang, he has the bandit kind of feel

I don't really have anything to comment about the plot, it's quite interesting how events fall in place and I don't want to spoil it for you. The only strange thing I felt was the timing of the attack on the fortress. While Yang was the one who told them when to attack the fortress, during their attack, his identity as an undercover was totally blown and he was unprepared to escape.

The 2nd chief of the bandits, the most devious looking one

The ending of the movie was quite playful I would say. The director suggested another ending for the evil villain which was in my opinion too dramatic. In fact, certain fight scenes were already bordering on exaggeration in some sense. After the attack ended, the audience was taken back to the modern, today setting. I actually think that this flashback technique was poorly used. I guess it was supposed to bring about a comical effect but it is too commonly used in Chinese dramas nowadays and rarely used well.

Overall, the movie is worth the watch if you enjoy wars that involve both action and wits. I certainly enjoyed it. 

Catch it in cinemas on 8th Jan 2015.

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