Just seen said Chinese film, released back in 2008, and it’s a strange old thing. It takes bits of The House of the Flying Daggers, The Water Margin and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (flying prawn), mixes them all together and then throws in the invention of the hot air balloon. It’s essentially a love triangle movie, with conflicting codes of honour, a moustachioed baddie (none of the goodies have moustaches) and various wars as a backdrop. For all the cliche and clumsy metaphor, it actually works. The sound track is some dreadful plinky-plonky western schmaltz (complete with Irish bagpipes!!!!!!), and yet the innocence of the whole thing means it still manages to pull it off.
It’s a real culture clash of a movie – of new and old China, of east and west, of art and over-sentimentality – but I still enjoyed it, entirely against my better judgement. So it’s a disarming piece. I think it’s all down to the absolute belief and sincerity with which it’s all acted. I believed in what was happening even though it was utter hokum. Big name Hollywood stars should take note. Worth a look then. 7/10