Zu Warriors Tsui Hark

There are plenty of digital shenanigans in Tsui Hark's remake, which takes his 18-year-old Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain and drives it down the digital highway, but it's so obsessed with visually impressing you it fails to consider what it's representing. As it turns out, not much, just an evil entity called Insomnia threatening the peoples of the Zu Mountain, and a bunch of magically endowed warriors who mean to put it in its place. To be honest, I kind of lost track of what happens after that, as the film goes into mumbo-jumbo overdrive with spiritual crap and magical rules so Byzantine as to defy verbal representation. For all of its sound and fury, it can't differentiate its many players beyond their powers and the side on which they fight; they'll tell you, "you should feel like a part of the sword" and "if we separate him from the blood cloud, the souls will be useless to him," but it's as if they're reading stereo instructions. Swords, blood clouds; it's all the same to me, because the people caught up in their machinations haven't been sketched well enough for me to care if Insomnia wipes them all out. Those digital effects sure are pretty though, and they're almost as pervasive as they were in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but like that movie the excitement wears off when you realise you're going to be looking at a video game for two hours. After a while, you just stare dumbly at the screen waiting for the end. English-dubbed and original Cantonese versions are offered on the same platter; in true Miramax fashion, the English version is 24 minutes shorter. Also included: a Hong Kong "making of" that's just as fatuous as the average Hollywood featurette. (Miramax)