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What Price Survival
Year: 1994 "Was it something I said?"
Norman Tsui gets the point
Director: Daniel Lee Yan-Kong
Cast: Wu Xing-Guo, Charlie Young Choi-Nei, Jack Gao (Ko Kin), Damian Lau Chung-Yun, Norman Tsui Siu-Keung, David Chiang (Keung Dai-Wai)
The Skinny: Cool update of the classic wuxia formula that's entertaining and involving, though also a bit remote in tone. The modern dress and rural setting make for a decidely different swordplay experience.
by Kozo:
     This arty flick takes place in bizarre world where everyone wears suits and long coats but no one has guns. Instead, they battle with swords like the wuxia of old. Daniel Lee directed this decidely offbeat take on the swordsman genre. His story concerns a young man (Wu Xing-Guo) who finds himself caught up in a twenty year-old grudge between his father (David Chiang) and his adopted stepfather (Norman Tsui), who took Wu from his family years ago. Making things worse is his best friend (Jack Gao), who's in love with his girl (Charlie Young), and tries to take her forcibly.
     The story itself is composed of your standard wuxia plot devices, but the new setting and cool cinematography make the film a worthy experience. The sword-fighting sequences are shot with style to spare, sometimes employing the now common smudge-slow-mo seen in Ashes of Time. The presence of old school actors Damian Lau, Norman Tsui and David Chiang makes for an interesting counterpoint to the updated setting and younger actors. This is an interesting and oddly disturbing film that succeeds at being entertaining and involving, though the overall tone of the film is a bit cold. Some might find the changes to the usual formula jarring, but the movie is still worth checking out for an interesting twist on an established genre. (Kozo 1995)
image courtesy of Ocean Shores Licensing, Ltd.
 Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen