EIFF 2016: Mojin – The Lost Legend (2015)
Considering just how much of a mess this movie is, you’ll forgive me if I don’t want to devote too much time and energy to a review of it. What starts off as a potentially fun, visually stylish, action adventure soon settles down into a cycle of one incoherent scene after another, with some poor action choreography, equally poor editing, and no way to keep viewers interested in the unfolding events.
Chen Kun, Huang Bo, and Shu Qi play three people who you could classify, for want of a better term, as tomb raiders. Theirs is a long and noble tradition of respectfully “borrowing” gold and treasure when it was needed, and only if certain criteria were met. It’s almost modern day now, however (because the film is set at the end of the ’80s/start of the ’90s for some reason), and these three end up working for someone who hopes they can find a treasure that will bridge the gap between life and death.
That’s all I’m going to say. Yes, this is a Chinese blend of Tomb Raider, National Treasure, and even The Mummy movies. For anyone suspecting that they may already want to give this a go, despite what I just said in the opening paragraph, I will admit that it is based on a popular series of adventure novels, apparently, and I can imagine that some scenes will make sense to those who are less ignorant than I am (it was hard for me to understand just how a specific compass was being used, for example, although it seemed easy enough for all of the characters to understand once it was being explained). But it’s hard to imagine anyone not being slightly bored at least once or twice as this runs through the 2-hour runtime.
The cast all turn up. The director, Wu Ershan, directs. And they all must have waited some time to see how the film would end up once it had been processed by the guys doing the CGI, because that’s all that makes up most of the more adventurous moments. It’s a real shame. Some of the production design is gorgeous, as is SOME of the CGI work. But when all of the bright lights and crackling special effects start to take over the screen, in lieu of any actual decent fights or impressive set-pieces, then it becomes easy to start disliking. And that dislike stays there, festering, while the movie goes on. And on. And on.
I was hoping that this would be fun. It really wasn’t, and my rating reflects the few individual moments that I enjoyed before the rot set in.
Mojin – The Lost Legend is showing at 2100 on 22nd June in Filmhouse 1, and at 1800 on 23rd June at Cineworld.
DIRECTOR: WU ERSHAN
WRITER: CHANG CHIA-LU, ZHANG MUYE
STARS: CHEN KUN, HUANG BO, SHU QI, XIA YU, ANGELABABY
RUNTIME: 125 MINS APPROX