Starring: Ekin Cheng as King Sky Cecilia Cheung as Dawn/Enigma Louis Koo as Red Patrick Tam as Thunder Kelly Lin as Amnesia Sammo Hung Kam-Bo as White Eyebrows Ziyi Zhang as Joy Jacky Wu as Hollow/Ying Lan Shun as Master Trascendental
Special Features: “The Making of Zu Warriors”
Includes Bonus Version of the Film: Original Hong Kong Extended Version
Synopsis: This film was originally released in 2001. The following is from the DVD cover:
“From the legendary martial arts choreographer of The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the acclaimed director of Black Mask comes Zu Warriors, the fast-action fantasy about an incredible fight for freedom against the ultimate evil! High in the clouds of China lies the Zu Mountain range, home to the immortal martial arts clans. But these mountains also attract a powerful fearsome demon, whose plan for total domination includes the annihilation of the clans! Now the seemingly unstoppable Insomnia is targeting the Omei clan, which must join forces with other Zu Warriors in the ultimate battle to save the world!”
Zu Warriors is rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence.
The Movie: Zu Warriors has a lot of really cool stuff in it. If you’re into comic books, you’ll be blown away by seeing characters in supersonic flight. Another character has metallic wings that sling blades in a way reminiscent of Archangel from the Marvel comics. If you’re into fantasy, you’ll be impressed by the beautiful settings and characters of the film. There are fairies, floating mountain fortresses, magical swords, and other imagery that will impress even Lord of the Rings fans. A lot of the film seems pulled straight from Chinese legend. If you’re into martial arts films then you’ll enjoy the intense battles that are jazzed up by special effects. If you’re into Asian cinema, you’ll enjoy the Eastern themes and storyline.
All that being said, though, the story wasn’t all that appealing to my Western tastes. Like many Hong Kong films, it looks cool but the storyline is so meandering and seemingly random that it doesn’t work as a whole. You can take any little portion of Zu Warriors and it seems pretty great, but when you put it together into a whole narrative is just doesn’t work. Other little portions don’t necessarily translate well. For example, the main villain is “Insomnia”. What’s so bad about losing a little sleep? And why does Insomnia sound like a little kid? I think it takes some Eastern sensibilities to appreciate a lot of it. I should add that I watched the original Hong Kong Extended version. I’m not sure how it compares to the American release that may have smoothed the rough edges of the story.
The Extras: Besides the original Hong Kong version of the film, the only other bonus feature is “The Making of Zu Warriors”. It’s your standard “making of” video. There are very brief interviews with the cast and crew, brief glimpses of behind the scenes footage, and more. They spend a fair amount of time discussing the special effects which is good considering it’s the highlight of the film.
The Bottom Line: If you like comics, fantasy, or martial arts films, you’re probably going to want to check out Zu Warriors. There’s something here appealing to all those interests. However, don’t expect the plot to be all that impressive.