The fizzle that is The Storm Warriors

2 03 2010

I can not believe I waited 11yrs for this.

So I was a teeny-bopper when I first saw the manga-adapted, fantasy martial arts movie, The Storm Riders. I remember thinking the effects were, like, oh, totally rad & the 2 main stars were, like, oh, the best duo you could, like, totally put together or something. Which 2 stars am I talking about? Aaron Kwok & Ekin Cheng.

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[ Aaron & Ekin in The Storm Riders, way back then ]

Aaron was my first serious celebrity crush (by serious, I mean I would save up all my pocket money to purchase anything that even merely had his initials on it; much less begging my parents to get me this huge scroll, cloth poster which graced the wall space above my bed for many happy years ;O), waaaaaay back when mushroom undercuts were the most fashionable thing a guy could wear on his head. He was my hands-down favourite of the 四大天王 (i.e. Four Heavenly Kings, see 90s CantoPop) because of this & because of his ridiculous dancing ability. To this day, he still has the moves (albeit maybe a quarter of a step not quite as fast.)

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[ A 1998 Aaron Kwok, as Cloud in The Storm Riders, w/ super cool blue hair ]

Ekin was possibly one of the coolest guy to be back then, too. I remember the whole Young And Dangerous phenomenon, the whirlwind of a craze he (& the rest of the cast) stirred up. Being a triad gangster had never been so cool. Being a Pantene Pro V approved long-haired triad gangster was even cooler.

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[ A 1998 Ekin Cheng, as Wind in The Storm Riders, w/ super cool shiny hair ]

And after so freaking long, it was so freaking cool seeing them together again in the sequel to The Storm Riders, released late last year, The Storm Warriors (heaven knows why they didn’t just call it The Storm Riders II ) buuut… if only they had made it a few years earlier (-_-) Unfortunately, even though they both look amazing for their age, I didn’t feel the same youthful spark in them that made the original so much more lively. If you ask me actually, everyone looked kinda bored making this film.

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[ Aaron & Ekin, 2009 style, in The Storm Warriors ]

But I don’t completely blame them. Going by the overwhelming amount of CGI in The Storm Warriors, I’d imagine all they ever did was film in a green studio. How inspirational can that get for an actor?? I am also a fan of traditional fight scenes, i.e. old-school straight-up people hanging from wires sword-clanking action, but there was far too much computerised fantasy-like elements obscuring the fight choreography here. Sure enough, almost every frame you froze on could’ve made hanging wall art but I would’ve appreciated it more if they’d backed up the 300-like comic-styling w/ actual emotions. For a manga-based film, the plot was as thin as paper. I would’ve liked to have gotten involved w/ the martial arts storyline myself but hey! There wasn’t really one!

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[ Hero pose 101!! ]

The dialogue was minimal & what little we did get was pretty much forgettable. The only line I actually retained was from Wind, his words to Cloud before he was off to train in the Evil Arts in hopes of defeating Lord Godless & saving the kingdom (my memory & translation skills here): “Brother Cloud, if I do, by chance, ever end up turning into a heartless demon who slaughters w/ no mercy, then I leave my fate up to you.”

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[ Bro-mance moments = happy me ]

I really wanted more Wind+Cloud moments!! I wanted more of Ekin‘s hair blowing in the wind & more of Aaron‘s brooding warrior physique but instead they shoved me a mammoth amount of hero poses played out in slow-motion (seriously, what was up w/ all the slow-motion???) And I also wanted to see Ekin dressed in white as the graceful, kind-hearted wind-like warrior, not some demonic soul possessed w/ crack-infused eyes wearing neo-gothic black. Argh, I’m so mad they deprived me of this pleasure ~~

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[ Why gimme this??? ]

OMG And for the 2 most thankless roles of the year, we announce Second Dream & Chu Chu, played by Charlene Choi & Tang Yan respectively. You can blame it all you want on the parts being poorly written but unfortunately, as pretty as they are, they also did not illustrate the same poise & bubbly presence as Kristy Yang & Shu Qi in the original.

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[ Majestically cool shot from The Storm Riders. This is more of what I wanted >.> ]

So after all that I’ve said, does it sound like you should still watch this movie? The answer is… well, YES. Why? I guess for the pretty manga-like visuals. For all the damn mountains in the movie. For the sake of the 11yr wait. For the legacy. Really, for Aaron & Ekin.

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