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This is far from a flawless movie but then again, the movie was also obviously aiming for something else. It's simply meant to entertain and to be sort of a throwback to the golden era of old fashioned, Asian, Kung Fu flicks. And I must say, it works out well enough as such.

It's obvious this was a labor of love for RZA and for co-writer/producer Eli Roth, who share a passion and understanding for the genre. You could say this is the foremost thing that lets the movie work out. It doesn't quite feel like a millions of dollars budgeted movie, that attempts to be a deliberately bad and silly Kung Fu flick at time but rather it feels like a quality movie that's paying homage to the genre, by not just nodding at it but also by doing plenty of original genre related stuff of its own.

It's actually a pretty detailed movie, both visually as story-wise. This might sound strange, since the actual story can get quite messy and simplistic at times. But this actually is something that's very consistent with the genre. Even the best genre examples 'suffer' from this and movies such as this mostly thrive on its characters, fight scenes and everything else that is leading up to its, always inevitable, finale.

I can definitely see how its story and storytelling in particular could bother people but you have to keep in mind that nothing about this movie is going to be air tight and not everything is going to make sense or explained into detail. It's just a movie in a genre that forces you to just go along with things and don't question things too much. After all, it relies on a silly premise and the laws of physics don't apply to this movie neither.

Having said all of that; this clearly still isn't the best thing the genre has to offer. The fight scenes looked cool enough but there aren't always shot that well, for example. Not sure if it was the editing or the directing but something often felt lacking about it.

Another thing that bothered me was the fact that this movie featured too many different characters in it. It tried to do and tell too much, while the story itself really didn't need any of that. It probably had everything to do with it that the movie its first initial cut was about 4 hours long and the movie got trimmed down heavily after that. The movie instead is now trying to put too much into 95 minutes, making things feel a bit messy and rushed. It really should had focused on one main character and one main character alone, to make things at least a bit more involving and easier- as well as more pleasant, to follow.

I still definitely liked the movie good enough for its silliness and all of the entertainment it had to offer, even though I actually still think they could and should had pushed things a bit further at times. It wasn't a punishment to watch so to speak and I could even say about it that it's a movie I probably would watch again at one point. But be aware though, it's clearly a movie that's not just for everybody.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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