Although it's obvious that Jadesoturi is a modern fantasy-- everyone suffers some interference from their "cultural memory". So audiences with fewer preconceptions about the Kalevala or wuxia will probably get into Jadesoturi more easily-- provided they pay close attention to the first 15-20 minutes of exposition (INSTEAD of any preconceptions they have). I watched Jadesoturi again after reading some (unrelated) comics and it suddenly "worked" for me: the basic "historical" premise is really simple--
4000 years ago, some Finnish-speaking tribes/ civilizations made contact with some Mandarin-speaking ones-- which explains why 1) Sintai looks caucasian and speaks Mandarin (mother-Finnish, father-Mandarin), and 2) Pin Yu knows Sintai's father and speaks a little (bad) Finnish. Just don't ask why they spoke modern Finnish/ Mandarin 4000 years ago and exactly where in Eurasia it all happened-- it's NOT a documentary.
But although I noticed more meaningful details the 2nd time round (e.g someone biting his fingernails...), I still didn't get some of the "mumbo-jumbo" (Iron? Fire?)-- could be the subtitles, or maybe Jadesoturi is just too subtle and foreign to me. And while the whole film was shot beautifully, many big "moments" were hinted at rather than shown-- with some of the "best" ones already in the trailer. So 2 things must be "accepted" in order to enjoy Jadesoturi: 1) it's a derivative genre film, 2) with a relatively small budget.
Now the specifics: LIKED the way it paid "tribute" to all those wuxia-fantasy genre-- it's tough coming up with interesting spins on the wuxia clichés like martial chopsticks, flapping cloaks, exotic weapons, etc (there are at least 5-10 more). It's amazing that this film sometimes felt like a Kalevala-inspired Chinese fantasy, instead of vice-versa.... NOT to be confused with Tarantino's kung-fu "spoofs".
LOVED the Chinese dialogue: directly translating the Finnish script to colloquial Mandarin (with terms like "beloved") avoided the sometimes awkward mimicking of "pseudo-classical" speech in Chinese wuxia/ historical films. And the understated, "world-weary" style of delivery allowed the lines to carry themselves, which added nicely to the sense of desperation pervading the film. The Finnish actors spoke good Mandarin (i.e. comprehensible), though the pronuniciation inevitably slips in the longer or quicker phrases.
LOVED Zhang Jingchu's and Markku Peltola's performances: they were amazingly "spot-on" in all their fighting and speaking scenes-- despite the "fuzzy" premise, they were completely focused and knew exactly what they needed to do in each shot. But unfortunately, Tommi Eronen & most other actors were mostly "required" to look hurt or bewildered. Especially Tommi Eronen-- I think he needs more focus and ACTING in the fight scenes.
LIKED the fight choreography: where the director tries to balance the "flow" of the stunts with the actors' "reaction shots" in order to capture the MOTIVATIONS-- which made the fight where Pin Yu tests Sintai (but gets "teased" by him) really "interesting". But the "flow" of the final fight was too broken up by talking and flashbacks (more wuxia clichés) for me-- unlike the earlier fights where people were just "testing" each other, this show-down/ climax can do with tighter pacing/ editing.
LIKED the film overall: for me, Jadesoturi was an interesting fantasy film that was worth more than one look-- but it uses so many "symbols" that everyone will probably see it differently. However, the "serious" archaeological approach is definitely NOT the way to look at the film. (E.g. the ancient Chinese "seal script" used in the film is 3000 years old max, not 4000-- a "trivia" or "goof"?)
Ultimately, perhaps the greatest praise AND complaint of Jadesoturi is that it left the audience expecting more-- I mean, who didn't want to see Pin Yu kick some more butt with that cool weapon of hers and those cool moves! Alas-- the only real wuxia (warrior) in Jadesoturi is Pin Yu, who had to "struggle with self-sacrifice for the greater good".
P.S. Regarding the last comment by tirkkanen-- Jadesoturi is definitely a cut above the sloppier kung-fu B-movies, but nobody should be making THAT kind of comparisons, right? And without meaning any offence, film-editing is "snappier" in Asia for the simple reason that Asians have become more used to "following" kung-fu moves-- it's a (film) culture thing, like the impossible metallurgy, biology, physics, etc..
Action / Adventure / Drama
Action / Adventure / Drama
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Thousands of years ago in ancient China, a love struck sword hero fights against his destiny. He wants another chance to be reunited with his loved one and he gets that chance, in a far away place and a far away time, in the cold north, in modern Finland. Jade Warrior is set in ancient China early iron age and present day Finland. The past is feeding the story in present day, slowly revealing our warrior his real origin, his superior skills and his destiny. Jade Warrior - the first Finnish Kung Fu film - combines Finnish and Chinese mythologies into one film. Jade Warrior is an homage to Kung Fu genre strongly spiced with a truly original approach to Finnish national epic Kalevala. Like Kalevala Jade Warrior is a pure melodrama. A story of Kalevala's greatest hero.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 16, 2022 at 10:46 PM