God of War (2017) - Hong Kong / China
Review by Andrew Chan
Back in the 2000s, historical martial arts epic was made in high frequency, with fewer outputs in the 2010s. It's probably timely that director Gordon Chan returns to form with the latest epic God of War. Starring the highly talented Vincent Zhao who was once potentially tipped by Tsui Hark to take over the mantle from Jet Li. Sammo Hung also offers his hand of support in the role of failed general being succeeded by Zhao. Perhaps the best thing in the film goes to the welcome back to the HK big screen for Japanese veteran martial artist Yasuaki Kurata (Fist of Legend). Vincent Zhao almost became a superstar in the 90s, but a downturn in HK film industry led to Zhao reinventing himself largely on Mainland TV series. It's a shame as he played Wong Fei Hung with such grace and of course the memorable and underrated "The Blade".
With God of War, Zhao gets to showcase his martial arts prowess with Sammo Hung, Timmy Hung and Kurata in well staged fight sequences. Whilst, Sammo's role is largely an extended cameo and not adding to much in terms of depth, Kurata simply shines as the key villain with virtue and samurai values. The final fight scene between Kurata and Zhao will easily remain 2017's highlight moment. Regina Wan proves to be strong and tough as Zhao's wife.
All in all, God of War is entertaining despite being generic and cliche. The fight scenes are realistically shot and grounded enough for martial arts fan to rejoice upon. The battle scenes and tactics are in depth and accurately depicted. It isn't the level of say John Woo's Red Cliff, but it is a fitting return to form for Gordon Chan and hopefully a launching pad for Vincent Zhao to spring back to the spotlight. With Wu Jing taking over Mainland box office by storm, the demand for martial arts epic will only increase.
I rated it 3.5/5
Out on DVD and Blu Ray at: https://neofilmshop.com/search?q=God+of+War