WU XIA (Peter Chan)
During the first act of WU XIA, Peter Chan's latest film, I was like "Whoa! This is a clear ripoff of David Cronenberg's A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE". That feeling would permeate the entire first act and eventually lets down any hope for the story, or the character build up.
If you've seen A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, then you already have an idea of WU XIA's plot.
The second act gets better though. An investigator Xu Baijiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) digs deeper into the mysterious past of a paper worker Liu Jinxi (Donnie Yen) and director Chan vividly establishes Baijiu's moral dilemma, as well as Jinxi's justification of "the greater good", actually telling us that his character has already changed, and that we, too should give him a chance. And how couldn't we? With those soft eyes and humble voice Yen is believable as a man of peace.
The third act is where the film kicks in high gear, both in action and in story development. Jinxi's past catches up with him, Baijiu finally decides what's for the greater good, and a climactic patriarchal duel ends in bloodshed.
I was half expecting the entire time for the story's pace to at least move on a less relaxed pace, but maybe it was better that Chan fashioned his tale in careful storytelling, taking his time; therefore, we are able to share the characters' struggles.