Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shangdown: a Western Kung Fu Movie

Without a doubt, I have a strong feeling that this movie is some sort of a throwback to the famous television series that propelled David Carradine into becoming a household name, Kung Fu [1972-1975] and its continuation Kung Fu: The Legend Continues [1993-1997].

However, instead of East meets West, this movie did a total 180 and brought a kung fu master cowboy into Shanghai. Hence the portmanteau that made up the title, Shanghai + Showdown = Shangdown: Way of the Spur, slated for release sometime in May, 2011.

I definitely like the idea, and not to mention that image above was enough to convince me to at least give this movie a try. In fact, the movie received favourable reviews when it was first screened at the Action on Film Festival 2010. However... Well, why don't we have a look at the trailer first before I give my two cents about the movie;

I know what you're thinking. I'm not convinced either. It looks like a movie made by fresh graduates of a film school with D-list actors. Now, I'm not saying being young is a sure-fire way to make a terrible movie, experience is not the problem here. I just don't find the action sequences to be that convincing; it's choppy, rough around the edges and ... well, amateurish.

However, I am open to the possibility that the movie isn't well-represented in that trailer up there. After all, history told us that trailers are merely a form of promotion that can be very misleading.

So if you can somehow overlook all that, you'll see that this movie is not at all a bad idea. Here's official synopsis of the movie; Guerino, a cowboy from Italy travels to Shanghai in search of his sister Elisa, a model working in China who had recently went missing. In Shanghai, Guerino finds an unlikely ally in Jieikai, a local Chinese, whose girlfriend also mysteriously disappeared while working in the same modeling agency.

During their search to uncover the truth, they get dragged into a dark world of criminality, corruption and human smuggling affairs. When things take a bad turn and innocent people start getting killed left and right, Guerino takes the matter into his own hands in order to save his sister before it's too late...

Driven by his thirst for vengeance and his desire for justice, he vows to take down every single link to this chain of smuggling affair following his one and only rule: kick first, ask questions later.

So there you have it. An old-school cowboy straight out of a Sergio Leone movie, travels to modern day China to kick some ass. It's a weird mash-up sure, and not to mention very anachronistic. But if it could get past that choppy camerawork and action sequences, I bet this will be very very entertaining.

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