Cage can put this one on his "Senseless contribution to meaningless film that brings grist to the mill"-list, because this was a typical mainstream movie. It's been several weeks since I've seen it, and to be honest I can't remember much of it. That's usually a sign that it wasn't a very good film and failed to impress me after all. About Cage's performance we can be brief. As brief as the time he appeared in the film in an unconvincing way. Apparently Cage joined the club of action heroes who choose one soulless trashy movie after another just to collect some pocket money (with the exception of "Joe" I've heard). Even the fact of Anakin Skywalker waving dangerously with his sword in this adventure film, can't change the fact that the final result is disappointingly weak. Probably the pubescent teenage girls present in the audience will experience this as a plus point, but that's the only positive contribution I can think of.
The story begins with Gallain (Nicolas Cage) and Jacob (Hayden Christensen) as two fiery crusaders in the Middle East where they spend their time with cutting up a few Muslims into pieces. Jacob however, with an extremely modern haircut, passes a for Gallain sensitive border and the two eventually go their separate ways. I found it astonishing that they ended up in China. That must have been a very long walk. In this medieval China the king's son Shing (Andy On) can whistle for the throne since the dying king appointed his youngest son Zhao (Bill Su Jiahang) as his heir. Out of fear of revenge, the king sends Zhao together with his charming sister Lian (Liu Yifei) and a royal seal to a safer place. Don't be amazed, but on the way to their safe harbor, they meet Jacob, who now looks more like a premature hippie under the influence of opium, who takes them under his wing.
It looks a bit like what Viggo Mortensen's job was, while being on the road with those hobbits in "The Lord of The Rings". A heroic warrior who acts like a security guard for some innocent and vulnerable young people. And although I always admired Nicolas Cage a lot, this became nevertheless a tedious and very bad movie. Not only has the subject been used a zillion times, there's also a pile of cliches and an atrocious acting Cage. Ultimately, he's not the central figure in this film, although he stands explicitly in the foreground on the movie poster.
Obviously the Chinese princess would fall for Jacob and the small Zhao looking up to him as a super hero whose adventures he followed for years in some comic magazine, was also nothing new under the sun. This movie is not even an alternative to pass your time on a rainy Sunday. Closing your eyes and taking a nap, would be more satisfying. Terrible action scenes (too close and nauseating shaking images) are being followed by incomprehensible fragments. I still can't understand that an army diligently seeks for the two royal children and still can't recognize them when they go into a town before their eyes. And how Jacob could kill an opponent who's riding a horse by using a bow and arrow at a ridiculous far distance and knowing that he usually stumbles around completely drugged, is absolutely ridiculous.
Eventually only Jiahang, Yifei and On acted convincing enough. I asked myself what fashion statement Cage wanted to make by wearing that absurd woolly hat at the end. That was a complete mystery to me. But eventually it matched his entire role : ridiculous. Now I understand why the Chinese distributor Yunnan Film Group ceased the release of this movie a few hours before the screening in thousands of cinemas. It probably has something to do with the Chinese have learned from a young age that they can never lose their face.
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