TRUE LEGEND (Yuen Woo-Ping)
Finally. Yuen Woo-Ping returned to directing films. The stunt choreographer of some of Hollywood's most action-packed films such as THE MATRIX and KILL BILL, who was also the director of Jackie Chan's SNAKE IN THE EAGLE SHADOW and Jet Li's TAI-CHI MASTER brought out the big guns, even having Michelle Yeoh and Jay Chou and surprisingly, David Carradine in supporting cameo roles.
Of course, you'd expect nothing less from Master Woo-Ping, in the action scenes department at least. TRUE LEGEND has some of the most breathtaking, acrobatic fight scenes I have seen in a while, and like most Wu Xia films, I feel tired for the characters, getting hit endlessly and still able to stand up and throw a kick.
The story is somewhat a fusion of FEARLESS and IP MAN, where the hero is an established master (wushu in this instance) and encounters a tragedy, where he has some soul-searching and then he fights foreigners in the end for Chinese pride. Oh, and there's even the GLADIATOR plot; you know the Joaquin Phoenix character Quintus? Yes he's played by Andy On here, who has a very bizarre past time- get stung by venomous snakes, spiders, and scorpions (that's a lot of S named animals!) in order to perfect his deadly technique.
You also have the Connie Nielsen character played by Zhou Xun, who is desired by Andy On's character. The problem here is that such desire spark incest. (Ewwww)
Then comes Michelle Yeoh, whom we first see mountain climbing to gather medicinal plants. Her character is named Dr. Yu (or Yu Shu Lien, says Wikipedia; could it be the Yu Shu Lien she played in CROUCHING TIGER?)
Then there's Jay Chou who plays the Wushu god. I think I liked him better when he was playing goofs in THE GREEN HORNET.
Oh and let's not forget the most important character: Vincent Zhao as Su Can, a former imperial soldier who becomes a master of drunken wushu. There are moments during his descent into madness where Zhao gets into total character, and he's believable. The letdown is he looks like Andy Lau when dressed as a beggar, so when I'm watching I'm thinking Andy Lau. I need to see Zhao's other movies.
The story is recycled and a big blah. I have seen it already. But let's face it, we all came for the fight scenes.