While many critics have not been kind to True Legend, I love it and have included it on my list of best films of the year at #10. Reviewers have dissed the film for being poorly scripted and disjointed. To which I respond: since when does the success of a martial arts flick depend on a tight cohesive script? It’s in the nature of chop socky flicks to have a certain loosy goosy lunacy.This ain’t fucking David Mamet. It’s kung fu!
Yuen Woo Ping has been making cutting edge martial arts films since 1978 when his groundbreaking classic Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow starring Jackie Chan burst on the scene like a fist to the solar plexus. He is arguably the greatest director and choreographer of action scenes in the history of cinema. His credits include the fight sequences in The Matrix, Kill Bill, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Kung Fu Hustle. Ping’s latest wi-fu spectacle True Legend is among the finest martial arts films produced in the past two decades. While the film features a shitload of computer generated imagery, at heart it’s an old school kung fu movie. A morality play with grand emotions and epic action, True Legend engages the heart while being breathtakingly thrilling. Plus, it has a terrific cast: the awesome Vincent Zhao, Gordon Liu (as Old Sage), the late David Carradine in his last film appearance and Michelle Yeoh (as Physician Yu). Just when you thought Asian action flicks had lost their mojo, Yuen Woo Ping resurrects the genre once again.
True Legend has yet to receive a theatrical release in the States, but you can buy it on DVD here.