FT Top 100 Films

Martin Skidmore says:

I love this film. It’s full of great moments and scenes, beautifully shot, mostly flawlessly acted, with glorious cinematography. I love the scene with the petite girl (Zhang Ziyi) going into the roughest den of thieves in old Shanghai and starting a big fight, knowing she can take on everyone there. I love it when Chow Yun-Fat confronts her trying to get his sword back, and fights her armed only with a twig. It has everything – strong characters, romance, first rate action.

On the other hand, I got rather irritated at the attention and praise it got. This isn’t because it doesn’t deserve every bit of it, but because it isn’t something sui generis. This warrants the praise, but so do lots of other kung fu movies that get no critical attention at all. There is no reason why a few touches of art movie sheen make this in a very different class from the best Hong Kong martial arts fantasies. There was talk, after CTHD’s success, that Tsaio Hark’s next flick might get a general release, but it never happened, but he has made a few films I love as much as this (one to come here in about a week), and there are other great films starring Chow Yun-Fat, Jet Li and others, besides those who haven’t made an international splash. It’s the area of cinema most desperately in need of greater attention and affection, and I am disappointed that this one wonderful hit seems not to have made that happen.