Film Reviews

True Legend: Family Splat

Famed martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) melds his trademark wire-work with gonzo CGI fantasy in directing True Legend, a dizzying action-packed tale of familial treachery, sacrifice and loyalty. In countless over-the-top set pieces, Yuen delivers striking combat clarity without sacrificing the visceral editing and crazy digital effects of modern bloodbaths. Bursting with gravity-defying battles, the director's story concentrates on Su Can (Vincent Zhao), a Qing dynasty warrior who—after retiring to marry Ying (Zhou Xun)—finds himself pitted against foster brother Yuan (Andy On), who's bent on exacting revenge against his adopted relatives for murdering his real father. Su's third-act mastery of "Drunken Fist" techniques against foreign goliaths is frenzied but more traditional than the narrative's initial half, in which reality's boundaries are stretched during showdowns atop a raging waterfall and between combatants suspended against the walls of a snake-filled well. Cameos from legends Michelle Yeoh and the late David Carradine further contribute to the proceedings' epic might, and in Yuan—a pale-faced monster with armor sewn into his skin and a Five Venom Fists power fueled by tarantula and scorpion poison—the film boasts a Mortal Kombat-style villain of a most awesome order.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nick Schager is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group. VMG publications include Denver Westword, Miami New Times, Phoenix New Times, Dallas Observer, Houston Press and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

Latest Stories