Even with all the hype about Ip Man 2, I choose to watch something different instead. It's not about Donnie Yen. Just the fact that I never really see the purpose/literacy significance behind such movies anyway.
The movie I picked in exchange is not recent by the way, yet rather intriguing to the mind.
To start of with, I neither like or dislike Aaron Kwok. Surprise surprise. ( I always happen to be a biased source don't you realise? For once! HAHA I AM NEUTRAL TOWARDS THE MALE LEADING ACTOR HAHAHA ) There is more room for improvements for his acting though. At least he is much better than Leon Lai.
HAHA. The overall effect of this movie was to make one feel good. Especially in times of economic crisis, it is obviously encouraging and appealing to the viewers. To think that bankers always have the public interest in heart while doing business. The theme of moral righteousness is strongly embedded in this movie.
Now this part is a DUH in 99% of the Chinese movies. They like to emphasize on some moral good/人生道理 in their works. Even the composition/comprehension I do in school is always basing it on that part of the Confucian philosophy thingy I suppose. Which is good! The world need some order in all the chaos. Hope for mankind :D
No what is notable about this movie is that its refreshing from all the Chinese movies I've been watching. Erm let me break it out into parts for clearer understanding. Chinese movies include Hong Kong + Taiwan.
- Out of a 100 films, 55 of them are historically epic kind. ( Think: 投名状, 卧虎藏龙, 黃飛鴻 ++ you get the drift) People acting include: Jet Li, Andy Lau, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi etc.. THESE ARE THE BLOCKBUSTERS. FOR THE MASS.
- 15 of them are on triads/gangster kind or humour- this is due to the power of the Cinema of Hong Kong which is quite remarkable ( Think: 新警察故事, 导火线, 无间道, series of Stephen Chow shows + slapstick comedy ) People acting include: Chow Yun Fatt, Andy Lau again, Simon Yam, Tong Leung, Stephen Chow's list of funny people etc.. ALSO FOR THE MASS.
- The rest of them are niche. Consisting of a wide range of art house movie/documentary/science fiction/ animation/ romance kind. These usually serve for the minority. Who ever heard of 2046 by Wong Kar Wai anyway? And to be honest, Chinese sci fic and animation...wth?
- Now back to the masses consisting of the 70%, within this almost 80% of it has martial arts in it. Featuring Donnie Yen, Jet Li , Jackie Chan....hmmmm or people who has zero martial arts skills but rely on Yuen Woo Ping/Sammo Hung's superb choreography + CGI effects.
- Also, these epic movies always has some form of moral justification in it. I called it the "good guys always win" theory.
So, what is so special about this film. It falls within the first category but it's actually not bad because of the plot. Ah the plot.
Nowadays films directors treat the public as fools. Honestly and we behave like fools. What is deemed a good show depends on good-looking actors/actress to ogle at, fighting scenes, lots of hype lots of action + over-exaggerated costumes. Like 风云, 投名状, 满城尽带黄金甲.. Sure there is the EPICness but its equally SENSELESS TOO !
SAY NO TO SUCH MOVIES! Its disgusting! ROAR! We end up watching tons of films produced with thin plots, zero story outlines and shallow characterizations- just visual graphics appealing to the senses. The film loses its sense of identity. There is no meaning! wth?!
OMG WHAT HAVE I JUST DONE? I'm suppose to be critiquing a film not complaining about the industry lol, once again I have digress. Pardon me please.
Back to the Empire of Silver, its acceptable I guess. At least I didn't felt repulsed. I especially enjoyed the parts whereby they displayed how banks operates in the past, can see that the director did her homework. The trade routes for silver, vaults system, merchants operation etc.. Quite logical and historically accurate :) The delivery on that part was not bad. The actor who pulled off the unscrupulous ruthless banker part is quite convincing too. He is a familiar face btw.
Minus points- the ending + once again how female characters are portrayed in Chinese films.
How righteousness triumphs ultimately. It was overdone. In fact, if the ending was twisted, the result might have been better. Rather chilling but realistic. Although definitely not agreeable with the mass audience but the dignity/artistic value of the film might have been preserved? Hmm I wonder...
PLUS WHY ARE FEMALE CHARACTERS ALWAYS THE USELESS KIND?! Sigh. It never changes. And I was hoping that a female director might have been different. Always the one who develops the male character in the story, never the main heroine. WHY WHY WHY? I can even pre guess the female character's words + actions + attitude is going to be !!
I call for feminist movements. LOL just kidding. I am actually quite traditional myself too.