Thursday, February 27, 2014

Film Review: Saving General Yang (2013)

Saving General Yang (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Streaming
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The action is spectacular..."

General Yang (Adam Cheng) is caught behind enemy lines when he's sent to war with a scheming ally against the Khitan army, who hold a grudge against the general...

Saving General Yang starts off quickly and complicated. We're dropped into the middle of an internal conflict as two sons are punished by the elder Yang. We're quickly shown why, and even more rapidly introduced to the seven sons -- I don't think they even have names other than first brother, second brother, and so on. When Yang is sent off to war, he is betrayed by his ally and has to survive with his remaining soldiers behind enemy lines. So, his seven sons begin their quest to save their father; but, according to a prophet, only six will return. From there on, the story is fairly simple with action taking the forefront. The ending of the film is great, although a bit predictable and even a little cheesy.

Saving General Yang isn't a historical drama or some informative biopic. Generally speaking (Ha!), Saving General Yang is a popcorn action blockbuster epic. The characters are barely developed so there is a lack of genuine emotion, but the melodramatic elements help develop a sense of loss during some scenes; the concept of seven sons saving their father is enough to keep you hooked, though. The story is unnecessarily complex in the beginning, but the story is simple as a whole and entertaining enough. The action is spectacular, though. The large scale battles are often breathtaking, while the close quarters combat keeps you on the edge with some tense scenes. And the action stays consistent throughout the second and third acts of the film. I also liked the speed of the film -- this film is ferociously paced ending before a blink of an eye.

Adam Cheng is great as the titular character, showing the charisma and wisdom of the character. The rest of the cast is also great, but never get a chance to shine due to the amount of characters and the short runtime. The film is beautifully shot, the cinematography capturing the beautiful sets and costumes. The music was also great in capturing the setting, as well as creating its epic tone. Ronny Yu directs Saving General Yang; there are some problems in the introduction, as well as a compressing feeling during the second half, but he does a great job creating action and tension.

Overall, Saving General Yang is an epic action film. Those looking for an authentic interpretation of the legend may be disappointed, this is more of a mindless action blockbuster -- and I liked it. If you're an action fan and want to kill an hour and a half, Saving General Yang is an efficient time killer.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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