So far this year I've seen just about four hundred films either theatrically or on DVD. There is no doubt that this number is higher than the average bear. I say that to say this, Frankie Chan's Legendary Amazons
is among the worst films I've seen in 2012, and I've seen some shit. There was a brief period before production began that this was a highly anticipated piece of work. Produced by Jackie Chan and directed by Frankie Chan of Armour of God II
fame, Legendary Amazons
had a pedigree that inspired some hope in film fans that it would be a film to look forward to. Unfortunately, the film is awful, and not even in a fun way. It is awful in a painful, incompetent way, and that's the worst.
The story of Legendary Amazons
is filled with promise. The legendary Yang family, one of Chinese literature's most beloved stories, is well known in its homeland. The idea of a film based upon the clan warrior women coming to rescue their clan's future by engaging in bloody battle is sounds like a no-brainer. Grab some talented female fighters, head out into the desert with some horses, and throw some spears. Done and done. However, it is the execution of the film that makes it so brutally painful to endure.
It's as if no one involved in the production had ever made a film before. Nothing in the film has any weight, either emotional or physical. All of the acting is so wooden and the dialogue (at least as translated) is so hokey that there is no connection to these characters who all appear to be in their own soap opera. If that were the only short coming, I could probably overlook it with the help of some kick-ass fighting, however, that was not to be. The fighting in the film is so fake looking that I think I could have taken down some of those guys without too much trouble. It's wire-fu gone crazy, and even worse, all of the kung fu is sloppy and slow. Surely this is the director who brought us some of the most fun martial arts/stunt films of the '80s?
When I said that nothing in the film feels as though it has any weight, I also meant the actual props and locations as well. All of the ludicrous armors and weapons appears to be made from fiberglass and PVC pipe. Nothing on screen feels as though it has any weight, which saps the impact of the weapons when the characters are fighting. It's like watching my son fight his friends in the back yard with whiffle ball bats and tree branches, though I think my son would probably get more hurt by another seven year old than these actors would.
On to my final criticism of the film: CGI. I know, I know, a lot of us like to pick on CG simply because it is overused, I've been guilty of that complaint many times. However, that is not my issue here. CG can be a very effective tool in creating worlds that don't exist, and recreating worlds that once were. The problem with Legendary Amazons
is that the CG, again, looks like it was done by high school students. The rendering is really sad, the compositing (blending the cg elements with real world elements) is atrocious, and, frankly it's vastly overused. There are times when Legendary Amazons looks more like the original Mortal Kombat
arcade game than a big budget period piece, and that's not a good thing.
When I went digging through the ScreenAnarchy archives looking for a review of this film, I came up empty handed. I can't imagine that Marsh didn't see it, but I can easily imagine him spending the last several months trying to forget he'd ever wasted two hours of his life on it. Well, I've done the hard part, now it's up to you. Do you really want to spend two hours of your life on this?
on Blu-ray from Well Go looks and sounds incredible. Well Go does amazing work even with films that don't deserve it. If you really want to see this film, you'll be blown away by the presentation, but I'm just not sure it's worth it.
The only extra is an hour long collection of discontinuous behind the scenes footage. Not really a featurette, more like a non-linear set of shots of the film being made. It's funny, if you watch the whole thing, you can actually see why the film is so bad by analyzing how often they fail to get the shot they're looking for. One other amusing thing is that Well Go actually posts and apology for the "making of" before the thing runs. Something to the effect of "sorry, we know this isn't very good but it's all we could get", very odd, though honest.
Bad movie, nothing to see here, move along.