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戰神傳說 (1992)
The Moon Warriors

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 06/05/2014

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 07/14/2005
Summary: A romantic tragedy with sword play to spare

A dynastic family clashes over who should rule China. Both sides are ruthless, although the insurgent 14th Prince enjoys killing for the sake of killing while the deposed 13th Prince kills when necessary and without joy. It is beautifully lit and shot and very well edited, including a lot of constructive editing during the fight scenes.

Maggie Cheung, with her flawless alabaster skin is perfect as the bodyguard to the 13th Prince. She has acting technique to burn and can express strong emotion with the smallest curl of a lip or twitch of an eyebrow.

Anita Mui, as sensous as any actress I have seen, is perfectly cast as the noblewoman caught between the feelings for the peasant (Andy Lau as Fei) and the emporer (Kenny Bee as Yen Ling). She is cold and arrogant at first but winds up risking her life to save Fei after he has been badly wounded while defending her.

Kelvin Wong is given a lot of scenery to chew as the ultra-evil 14th Prince. This over the top character not only enjoys performing exections himself but does so with panache--when the leader of the ambush in the bamboo forest returns, the Prince cuts his head off with one snap of his bow string, hits the flying severed head with an arrow which drags it through a torch and lights it on fire. An astonishing few seconds of film.

There are plenty of instances of highly skilled sword play and just enough wire work to match the fantastic characterization. Adding to the atmosphere are foggy caves that lead to the shrine over the grave of the first Yen emporer, magic crystals that heal wounds, attacks by leaping knights from beneath the ground and a pet killer whale who intervenes into the last battle at a key moment.

Very much worth seeing.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Arshadnm6
Date: 04/09/2005
Summary: Excellent plot and plenty of swordplay......

This epic swordplay action adventure, directed by Sammo Hung, tells the story of Fei, a fisherman (Andy Lau), and Yen Ling, a prince and king-to-be (Kenny Bee). When Yen Ling is betrayed and exiled by his own younger brother, the two form a friendship. Through unwittingly gaining the prince’s trust, Fei is sent to retrieve the prince’s fiancee, Yueh (Anita Mui, only daughter of Lan Ning-kwan, The Lord of Lanling played by Chang Yi), but falls in love with her instead. Meanwhile, the prince’s close bodyguard (Maggie Cheung) is secretly in love with him. This sets up a doomed love-triangle between the four of them. As an additional highlight to the movie, Fei’s friend, a killer whale, gets a credit in cast of characters in this action-filled fantasy. Meanwhile, the younger brother or 14th Prince (Kelvin Wong) is relentlessly plotting with his vast armies against the rebels to assassinate his older brother.

Apparently this movie’s action choreography was completed by numerous unknown action directors except for Tony Ching Siu-tung and Corey Yuen Kwai after which, Sammo Hung put a few brief finishing touches to it in order to attract audiences via a few popular names. The concept of the movie is basic but leaves enough time for the limited cast of main actors to shine through with their performances in roles which suits their natural style of acting at specific points in their careers (Maggie Cheung being irritating as always, Anita Mui as a spoilt girl, Andy Lau being a down-to-earth, honest and practical commoner and veteran Kenny Bee leading them all and rounding off any rough edges as an experienced and wise counsellor). Furthermore, Andy Lau brings a light-hearted and fresh feeling to the already dark vibes (for all of the heroes) echoing throughout the movie.

The action is solid, well-spaced out and aplenty to make it really count when needed. The different weapons used throughout the movie, never amounts to more than bows and arrows, swords or a halberd which is explained by the early period in which the movie is set. The costume designs, environments and locations used for the movie are amazing and well chosen. This movie is more about landscapes than villages, towns and cities so don’t expect to find the same settings as in the ‘Once upon a Time in China’ or Fong Sai Yuk’ series since they probably didn’t exist in those times on such a large scale. Also, the music score is wonderful and appropriately used at different stages throughout the move.

Overall, the plot is very emotional viewing the actors and considering the grander scale of the storyline. The movie is also the correct length and does not stretch or overly focus on any issue. The limited cast list never takes any energy out of the acting and is a rarity in films of such types. The different genres in this movie amazingly include good doses of action, romance, comedy, friendship and loyalty which appeals to a wider audience. This movie is very watch-able (highly recommended) and a true gem of its time and certainly would have pushed the careers of everyone who was involved in it to new heights at the time of the movie’s release. On the plus side, fans of Andy Lau might find that at the end of this movie, he actually survives, contrary to other movies that he has made in his career.

Overall Rating: 9.1/10

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 04/30/2003
Summary: Did not agree with me at all....

I don't see what the deal is with this film. The fights were not great, actually pretty stupid and had a strange look to them. Actually the whole film is too sentimental in a cheesy way. Sorry Sammo, I didn't like this one.

Reviewed by: Wu'xiaBadger
Date: 01/22/2003
Summary: Orca Beast!

This is another Wu'xia fantasy picture, but its definitly on the high end of things. The direction under Sammo Hung is capable if not inspired, and the story moves along at a good clip. The action sequences are inventive and plentiful, with great choreography throughout.
The real strength of this film lies in the charisma of the characters. Andy is excellent as always, and I particularly liked that his character was a country bumpkin rather than nobility. Anita Mui handled herself as well as always, and Maggie Cheung made a nice melancholy heroine of-sorts. The villian was nasty, and its always cool to see an archer bust out some moves.
Very little to complain about, a beautifully shot yet tragic historical-action film. 8/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: jpopphan
Date: 01/24/2002
Summary: A very enjoyable film

This film made me fall completely in love with Andy Lau. His performance as Fei in this work was noteworthy. The beautiful sets, costumes and dialogue make this one of the best I have seen to date. This was the first film I have seen where Sammo Hung is the director, and I think that he did a great job. This film holds a special place in my DVD collection.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: GOOD

This is like a more action than Dragon Inn or Ashes Of Time type of feel to it.
A martial arts fantasy adventure, but with action, fight directed and produced by Sammo Hung.

Andy Lau and Maggie Cheung are very good here, even Anita Mui plays a good part. Kenny Bee plays an interesting character here, big change from his comedy roles.

Rating: 3/5

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 08/09/2001
Summary: Excellent movie, just watched it again!

Sure, the fights aren't exactly as good as that of Once Upon A Time in China or Fong Sai Yuk, but I highly enjoyed the great love story, which may not be the most realistic but is never the less interesting. Lots of fight scenes/swordsplay, although none very good (still, you have to admire the training that these modern no-kungfu-still-at-all actors and actresses had to go through and the actual result, which is nothing less than their best effort, and I can't ask for more) and lots of suspense (duh). The movie on the whole, however, is quite unsatisfying, especially if you watch it over and over like I have been. Nice efforts from some of the biggest names in HK cinema, but maybe not an overwhelming result. Andy Lau excels playing comedy, but not as a warrior. Anita Mui looks rather bored, and frankly, ugly in this film. I think her makeup was a bit overdone.


Reviewed by: baoshikang
Date: 06/07/2001
Summary: Great, somewhat overlooked, movie.

One of the many terrific movies made as the HK KF/costume picture (the whole industry in fact) peaked and started to go into decline (Fire Dragon, Iron Monkey, Last Hero in China, et al.), many of which lost money. We can only hope that the phenomenal success of CTHD will result in a revival of this genre.

For those who don't think much of Andy Lau: I wonder if even Robert De Niro or Dustin Hoffman would learn how to ride a killer whale for a role!!! Watching Anita Mui and Maggie Cheung swordfight is cool enough, but there's plenty of good action in this terrific, fun movie.

Reviewed by: SBates
Date: 02/01/2001
Summary: I Want a Pet Whale like Andy!

There are some very striking settings in this film, from blue-lit caves, to bamboo forests, to atmospheric night=time scenes lit by fires. Overall, that was the main point of interest for me in this movie; the fight choreography was passable, the acting worked, the story was somewhat involving...But I don't know, maybe the film tried to be a bit too literate. See SWORDSMAN 2 instead, or LIQUID SWORD.

Reviewed by: jean yves
Date: 01/06/2001
Summary: One of My Favorites

One of my favorite HK movie of the 90's, and I've seen quite a number of them. Lot's of great outdoor cinematography of mist-filled forests, seaside villages, and underground tombs. Some cool looking wire-work, but a LOT of non-wire, old school, incredibly acrobatic sword choreography. This movie really felt like a new-wave Chinese fairytale, great use of light, shadow, mists and fog, haunted forests and magical amulets. It also had a great, crazy HK feel to it, with a fight scene every 5 minutes, tragically doomed romance, and the hero having a pet killer whale (!). In some ways I thought this was kind of an updating of King Hu's 60's films like "A Touch of Zen", and "Dragon Gate Inn" (much better than the actual "Dragon Inn" remake), with it's forest settings, emphasis on female knights, and themes of imperial power struggles and intrigue. I just really loved this movie--and you can't beat a movie with stunning Maggie Cheung and Anita Mui swordfighting all the way through.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 09/19/2000
Summary: I felt unsatisfied..........

A bunch of big time actors couldn't save this movie for me. Something was lacking in this movie, but i am not sure what!! Maybe it was the unrealitistic love side stories this movie had.

I was only mildly entertained watching this


Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 07/22/2000

To tell the truth, I never actually finished watching this movie... It just wasn't very interesting. Andy Lau once again failed to arouse any interest from me, and the flying-people fight scenes were nothing particularly spectacular compared to other, better films in the genre... Adding to the homogenous feel of the movie was the fact that much of the soundtrack seemed to have been stolen from better movies... The movie isn't especially bad, it just has nothing new to show a somewhat jaded viwer. With an actual martial artist (with some charisma) in the lead and an ORIGINAL soundtrack this movie might have been at least worth finishing.

That was my old take on this movie. I've since watched it again, and while I still feel that the story is disorganized and ultimately uncompelling, I must've been on some kind of drugs when I made those comments about the action scenes. The best ones are as good as anything out there, and deserve a place right alongside those in genre classics like Swordsman 2 or Dragon Inn. Unfortunately, this film lacks the additional assets that made those films all-around successful.

Reviewed by: Darryl
Date: 12/21/1999

Sammo Hung Kam Bo mentioned in Boston that MOON WARRIORS was directed in pieces by: Lam Ching Ying, Mabel Cheung & Alex Law, and Sammo came in, polished a few bits, oversaw the editing and was bestowed the on-scren credit.

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

The _Essential Guide To Hong Kong Movies_ says this film features "some of the most aggressively acrobatic choreography ever committed to celluloid."

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Fei (Andy Lau) is a swashbuckling fishing villager drawn intothe bloody world of feudal politics when he helps a worthy prince against his usurping brother. He develops the same love for spoiled but cute Princess Yueh (Anita Mui) as Hsien (Maggie Cheung), the prince's bodyguard, has for her liege. The movie balances swordplay, intrigue, and romance very well; but nearly everybody dies. Then, Fei wakes up from his dream, musing over the woes of the rich and privileged. Hai Wei the killer whale makes an appearance to almost save the day.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7