Sunday, August 07, 2016

Jet Li and the League of Gods

A new Jet Li movie, League of Gods is hitting the states, drawing from 16th century Chinese folktales in addition to more recent stories and sensibilities. IO9 recently posted an interesting article on the various sources that influenced this epic.

There's a few points where I find the effects a little hard to look at, but considering that I've given a pass to films with far worse effects over the years, this may still be one to check out.

It's based on the 16th century novel Fengshen Yanyi by Xu Zhonglin. The cast includes Jet Li, Tony Leung, Louis Koo, Huang Xiaoming, Angelababy, Fan Bingbing, Wen Zhang, and Jacky Heung.

The plot is roughly summarized as:
"A long time ago, a determined King Zhou, supported by his concubine Daji, sets his mind on conquering the Middle Kingdom. After years of slaughter, the unyielding Adept tribes have been eliminated in succession. Jiang and General Ji from Qishan are King Zhou's longstanding opponents. Under a divinatory sign, Jiang discovers that the Sword of Light can reverse the adversity."

The novel itself was once characterized as lacking the realism of the Chinese classic The Water Margin but didn't have the imaginative realism of Journey to the West by the critic Lu Xun in 1930. But it has made a comeback in recent decades.

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