Warriors Of Heaven And Earth He Ping

Warriors Of Heaven And Earth He Ping
This wu xia knockoff will no doubt invite lazy comparisons to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero, but it's no contest, even for the few of us who didn't like those movies. Lieutenant Li (Jiang Wen) is on the run after refusing to execute civilian prisoners; Lai Xi (Nakai Kiichi) is the Japanese emissary sent to kill him. They agree to put their differences aside to protect a caravan crossing the Gobi desert, only to discover that it's hiding a magical Buddhist relic sought after by the local warlords. It sounds simple, but co-writer/director He Ping does his best to make the story as tortuously complicated as possible: he slows down the progression of events to make them seem more complex than they really are and smothers everything in the kind of calendar art that made David Lean so sickeningly popular. So determined is he to knock you out with ersatz seriousness that he sucks all of the pleasure out of his movie, and his material, with its cheesy sylph love-interest and "Cheaplaffs Johnson" sidekicks, can't support the sombre build-up. Even the genre's saving grace — kick-ass fight scenes — is marred by flaccid direction and stumblebum choreography. For hardcore buffs only. Extras include a lengthy "making of" featurette (with humorous asides about the shoot's subzero temperatures) and a tacky synth-pop video by Jolin Tsai. (Columbia TriStar)