Writer: Florey DM
Overall: 4.5 Out of 5
Cast: 4.5 Out of 5
Plot: 4.5 Out of 5
Effects: 4.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 4.5 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: “CZ12”and “The Myth”
The Good, the Bad and the Blades:
As is expected of a group of experienced and talented actors (one of them has an Oscar after all), the acting in the movie is nothing short of great. Every emotion is well-emoted, even little Jozef Waite plays the part of a Roman Prince perfectly, he'd have you shedding a tear or two when the little prince starts crying onscreen. And while many from the West may refer to Cusack and Brody as fading stars, even naming this a low in their careers for accepting to not-quite-star in an Asian production, it cannot be denied that they still have their acting chops. Though seeing Brody in a villainous role is somehow more natural compared to believing Cusack as a Roman soldier.
It's not a Jackie Chan movie without a well-choreographed fight scene or two. Of course, in the movie there is aplenty, his character Huo An fights with almost all the main characters. The fluidity in movements does not disappoint and will make one wish they were martial arts expert, too.
Seeing that this is the most expensive Chinese movie ever produced, the money spent was definitely not wasted. The costumes are beautiful, detailed and century-appropriate. It can be seen reflected in the ornate designs of the army's shields and uniforms, for example. As for the CGI, though it looks glaringly obvious whenever a scene is shown in wide shot, it does, however, look neat and well-crafted when done in a smaller scale.
The editing is done just right as the cuts do not immediately reveal what is coming (for example, the revealing of the crown), some shots only continuing after a few jumps, forcing the audience to be more aware, more immersed. The songs definitely set the mood. Take one scene where the little Prince sings their Roman anthem in heartfelt clarity, uniting everyone with just the power of a song.
The message of unity, regardless of race, is one that is present most prominently throughout the movie - Huo An and his wife are of different ethnicities, she teaches students of different races, Huo An befriending a Roman soldier, people of different nationalities working together to finish the gate.
All in all, this is one movie worth the money to watch in cinemas.
The production initially wanted to use many types of animals (including elephants and dogs) for the war scene but the harsh conditions of the desert affect the animals, in the end only eagles and horses could be used.
Cinema Online, 20 February 2015