Quite impressive depiction of one of numerous ancient China war stories.
Director: Daniel Lee | Stars: Shao-feng Feng, Leon Lai
Budget: n.a. | Box office: n.a.
IMDB: 6.2 | Metacritic: n.a.
Such movies probably will never end. With 5000 years of history and countless battles, epic Chinese war movies have a genre of their own. So, as was the case with White Vengeance, you more or less can expect what you will see without knowing anything about the movie. It was enough just to see the trailer and it didn‘t bother me that there were no famous names attached.
The trailer shows a very typical epic war movie picture, but White Vengeance isn‘t just that. Of course the biggest draw is huge battle scenes (and it worked as the movie was sold out when I tried to watch it first time), but the movie does not rely only on them.
The story is about two warlords trying to end the tyrannic Qin dynasty around 200 BC. As all the cities and provinces are submitted to vast armies of Xiang Yu and Liu Bang, the only capital city Xianyang is left. To save the emperor from demolition advisors try to send the warlords against each other, which resulted in historically famous Feast at Hong Gate.
The movie works well as a motivation to delve at least a bit deeper to this part of China history and it would actually be more interesting to watch if you knew more about the events beforehand. Other way it‘s a bit complicated to understand who are the enemies and the friends, who fights for what.
There is a quite unique feature to this film which I really liked. Attention in the movie is given not only to warlords as is usual in such cases, but even more to their advisors. It may sound boring, but it‘s fascinating to see how each side tries to predict other moves and plan counterattacks or evasions. And the parallel with Chinese board game weiqi (known as Go in English) is really good – the mach of two advisors is worth alone to watch this movie.
Sadly, I don‘t think the movie will be released widely outside Asia. Although there is a distributor signed for USA and probably some international festivals will pick up the movie. It may be not in the same league as The Warlords with Jet Li or John Woo‘s two part epic Red Cliff, but White Vengeance is a thorough recreation of short but eventful part of China‘s history.