Film Review – Ashes of Time Redux
Ashes of Time Redux (originally known as Dung che sai duk) is a Chinese film about a swordsman, Huang, who shows up at a friend of his’ house (Feng) with a jug of magic wine that makes people forget. He doesn’t believe it, but tries it anyway and actually forgets his past.
He goes back to find out some things about his past and also about the person that gave him the wine. Feng is sort of a middle man that connects swordsmen with people who need swordsmen. Huang was drunk and agreed to marry what appears to be a tranny’s sister. This is where I get confused, is the tranny the sister as well?!?! Agghh!!!) Huang skips out on the promise to marry the sister and the tranny hires Feng to kill Huang.
To complicate things, there are various other things going on with Feng. He’s trying to hire swordsmen to kill a band of roving thieves. He hires a few people, which ends up weird – one he tries to pimp on some people because he’s wearing shoes, unlike other hired swordsmen. And another one is going blind and wants to get home to see some flowers blooming (aka his wife) before he goes completely blind. I won’t tell you how it ends, mostly because I’m not sure how it ends. I’m bad with symbolism, so what I saw on the screen might not have been what actually happened. Lots of people die though, so be ready for that.
This movie is super confusing (or maybe I’m super slow). I literally had to watch this film twice and I’m still not sure everything in it made sense. That being said, I really liked it a lot. There’s great action, great choreographed fighting, great costumes and special effects, and believable acting (even with subtitles). I’m not sure I could explain this any better even if I watched it a few more times. It’s convoluted, but strangely draws you in, nonetheless. I’d love to give this a higher rating than this, but it was simply too confusing for me. If you can figure it out, it might rank higher on your own list, since I already think it’s pretty good. It’s a re-edited version of the film put out in 2004, so I’m curious if it’s more linear in the earlier version, but I’m guessing it’s not as visually stunning as this one is.
(3 out of 5 fus)