Sunday, May 22, 2011

Instant Foreign: Jade Warrior

A Finnish man walks into a Chinese epic and...wait, what?  That's the basic premise of this bizarre, Finnish/Chinese production.  I mean, what is going on here?  Essentially, a guy from Finland thought that he was a good martial-artist and wanted to make a movie showing that.  There are worse reasons to make a movie, I suppose.  The problem is that this whole thing is silly, slow-paced and convoluted.  For all of you who thought that the 'how the Matrix works' explanation from Matrix: Reloaded was confusing, you haven't seen anything yet!  If you thought that the entire plot of Izo was confusing,...well, it is.  This one is also weird and confusing though.  Oh yeah, the whole plot involves a giant metal box and a similarity between two words from two different stories.  To solve the riddle, polish up this...
The film begins with some people out in the snow that decide to shoot a wolf.  Don't worry, it will live...with that arrow through it's neck!  We are abruptly thrown into the present day in a plot involving a woman selling some metal to a scrap salesman.  It was made by her boyfriend, who is apparently a blacksmith- just not a good one.  The guy from the shop tracks him down and...asks for some hair from his head.  I don't know- just go with it.  It all involves him trying to open some sort of magic box that contains...something.  He hires our hero to build stuff for him, but he has the audacity to interrupt the guy's suicide attempt to do so.  Somehow, the guy ends up in, well, The Matrix and gets his ass kicked by the middle-aged guy.  In the other plot, our hero (the same guy, but with black hair) abandons his mission to kill the last son of an evil witch in exchange for 'living one day as a normal man.'  In reality, he abandons his mission entirely to make eyes at some lady.  Wow, you're a great hero!
This confusing plot continues to get odder and odder.  Our hero continues his romance with the woman from the village and continues to ignore his duty.  Due to lazy screenwriting, we are never told how long he is actually there.  Who cares about facts?!?  In the real world, our hero is hired by the ass-kicking Finnish man to build...something.  He is pretty vague about the whole thing, both to the blacksmith and the audience.  It has something to do with the story in the past, as well as the mysterious object that is mentioned in both stories.  All we know is that our hero is not that good at crafting metal.  What does he need to improve?  It's quite simple- he has to get along with the metal.  No, really.  The only high-point of this movie so far is an over-the-top fight/flirt session between our hero and the girl.  Even that is just okay.  We're almost home, folks!
All of the film so far has been building up to two things- the reveal of what's in the magic box and the fight in the past between our hero and the witch's son.  Unfortunately, both climaxes are silly and, well, a bit of a letdown.  The box contains some sort of evil energy that shoots out into the sky and is supposed to be sinister.  When your effect makes me think of The Wizard of Oz's anniversary, it's not that sinister!  The other moment comes down to our hero facing off with the villain, the bad guy giving a speech and subsequently being decapitated without a fight.  How pointless.  In the present day, we get a showdown between the blacksmith and the middle-aged guy, who is the vessel for the beheaded guy...I think.  They don't say that implicitly, but I think that's what's happening.  Despite being hit in the face with a hammer several times, our hero doesn't die and manages to win the fight.  In the past, our hero learns that the guy we saw at the very beginning was the long-lost fiancee of our hero's girl, so he feels bad...for some reason.  He goes off into the snow and dies, while the blond version of him lives happily ever after.  Okay then.  The End.
What the hell was that?!?  The plot of this movie is all over the map- literally and figuratively!  It's bad enough that we have a plot split between two characters, but it also involves two different countries, Eras of human history and languages.  It would be easier to follow if one of them was a fly and the other was Godzilla!  Aside from this problem, the plot you can actually follow either makes no sense, has no purpose or is just dull.  I never thought that I'd see a Finnish Wuxia film, let alone one that is so freaking dull!  How did they mess this thing up?  I didn't expect this movie to necessarily be good, but I did expect it to be a glorious train wreck.  Sadly, this film is just not interesting.  I was not expecting this movie to turn out this bad.  I guess I'll have to wait until the next Finnish Wuxia film to see if this sub-sub-genre can be salvaged.
Next up, Iceland treats us to a unique horror film.  By 'unique,' of course, I mean that it's a TCM rip-off...with whalers.  Stay tuned...


  1. You do however have to admit that stabbing a guy in the spleen and then calmly explaining the art of blacksmithing to him as he slowly bleeds out is pretty badass. That old possessed Finnish dude was kind of awesome.

  2. Yeah, he was. Where is his movie?!?!?