The Lost Bladesman
- Director:Felix Chong , Alan Mak
- Cast:Wen Jiang , Betty Sun , Donnie Yen , Andy On
- Release Date:April 28, 2011
- Running time:95 minutes
- Film Worth:$12.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
While the action is impressive, the human drama and characterisation of the potentially fascinating warrior General Guan Yu is sadly one-dimensional.
Based on fact (albeit hyper-stylised) and set during China's ‘Three Kingdoms' period, when factions fought after the collapse of the Han Dynasty; the story follows China's feared and respected warrior swordsman General Guan Yu Chang (Donnie Yen). His allegiances are put to the test by the effete Han Emperor's right-hand man, General Cao Cao (Wen Jiang), who wishes to recruit Guan Yu Chang because of his prowess on the battlefield and the power that such dominance would bring.
In order to gain a foothold against his enemy Liu Bei (Alex Fong), General Cao Cao holds his betrothed, Qi Lan (Sun Li), hostage. This complicates matters as Liu Bei is a blood brother of General Guan Yu Chang, and even more problematic because of Guan Yu Chang's secret love for Qi Lan. In order to free her and save his best friend, General Guan Yu Chang must fight six of the Emperor's Generals and defeat them.
While the revered historical figure of Guan Yu Chang looms large in Chinese history; this cinematic rendering of him is paper thin. It's not helped by Donnie Yen's decision to play Guan Yu Chang so stoically, which makes for a deeply uninteresting central character.
The love triangle of Liu Bei, Guan Yu Chang and Qi Lan is played with reverential subtlety, so there's little in the way of human drama to care about as the film plods along.
Star Donnie Yen directed and choreographed the impressive action but the film's co-directors Alan Mak (who co-directed the Infernal Affairs trilogy) and Felix Chong (who was screenwriter for the same trilogy) seem to struggle with making a three dimensional character out of such a highly regarded figure.