HKIFF Review: Saving General Yang 忠烈楊家將 (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 9th April 2013

Directed by: Ronny Yu
Starring: Ekin Cheng, Vic Chou, Xu Fan, Yu Bo, Raymond Lam, Wu Chun and Adam Cheng
In cinemas around Australia and Hong Kong on 4th April 2013.

Reviewed as part of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013

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The issue with Ronny Yu’s latest action blockbuster epic “SAVING GENERAL YANG”, is that there are far too many people, a clear lack of focus and an inability to maintain the audience’s attention span. With all the pretty boys poster, the film will definitely attract a full house teenager girls audience, but for action fans and even Ronny Yu’s fans expecting another “FEARLESS” or “BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR”, “SAVING GENERAL YANG” is nothing like the aforementioned films and more likely alluded to “FREDDY VS JASON”. Assembling a cast of Ekin Cheng, Vic Chou, Xu Fan, Yu Bo, Raymond Lam, Wu Chun and Adam Cheng is not easy and directing them all in one movie is even harder. When the best thing are the cheers you hear from the noisy teenager girls quadrant in the audience, where each male character are being introduced, you know that this film is far more promotional art than actual cinema. I am not sure, what made director Ronny Yu take the film on board, but whatever it is, this is Yu’s worst film and for god sake, even “FREDDY VS JASON” is better entertainment. It is this bad.

I am not going to go into the detail with each characters or actors, as none of them came through with a performance, but rather like shooting a commercial with zero character and almost impossible to identify . Everyone just seems to appear here and there in random spaces, only to collect a big hefty pay check, before leaving the set for other venture. Veteran Adam Cheng’s probably comes of best, as most long time cinema fans, eagerly awaits his presence on the big screen for a long time. He is probably the only character that comes off somewhat interesting within the midst of mess that Yu presents to us.

All in all, words cannot describe how bad, incoherent and irrelevant “SAVING GENERAL YANG” really is. The world is full of bad cinema, but there are films that knows they are bad and somehow manages to entertain by being unintentionally funny. However, there is no such saving grace in this movie. The real issues are not just Ronny Yu’s poor direction, but rather from top to bottom, script to editing, Ekin Cheng to Vic Chou and pretty much everyone involved, except for the adequate period costume designers. Perhaps, the film is better of as a pure commercial, selling hot boys and Adam Cheng. I feel like I have ramble more than enough, but sometimes, you just have to get it out. My sincere apology, if I offend anyone, but let’s hope next time, for everyone’s involved they all make better movies. (Neo 2013, Reviewed as part of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013)

I rated 1/10

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