When I got the invitation to watch the movie, it didn't take me long to consider.  Not because it is free, but rather, it's a movie by Tsui Hark. Upon watching the movie, I was sort of taken aback by the modern settings as I had initially thought that it is a wuxia flicks, looking at the poster, without scrutinizing in details. Neither had I read the synopsis and trailer prior hand.  Read on to understand the details.

Brief Synopsis:
Adapted from the famous Chinese novel "Tracks in the Snowy Forest", the movie is set during the civil war era of 1946, when ruthless bandits occupied Northeastern China and threatened the lives of civilians there. The most powerful bandit of all was Mountain Eagle (Tony LEUNG Ka-fai), with an impenetrable fortress up in Tiger Mountain,  armed with strong artillery. Unit 203 of the Liberation Army, led by SHAO (LIN Gengxin), was crossing the Northeastern region when they encountered Eagle's men raiding a village. SHAO decided to stay and fight against Eagle. Headquarters sent a skilled investigator YANG (ZHANG Hanyu), who infiltrated Eagle's gang as an undercover. The duo was soon engaged in a battle of wits with the cold-blooded Eagle, deep inside the snowy forest.


Directed by: TSUI Hark 徐克

Starring : ZHANG Hanyu 张涵予, LIN Gengxin 林更新, TONG Liya 佟丽娅, Tony LEUNG Ka Fai 梁家辉, YU Nan 余男, HAN Geng 韩庚, CHEN Xiao 陳曉

While you see a tiger in the poster, the story does not revolve around it, it is only part of one scene where you see how YANG managed to deal with it with his wittiness. The pace is a bit slow during the beginning of the movie, luckily it did not last long enough to get me totally bored.  The movie is clearly designed for 3D, so even though we are watching it in 2D, we can still feel the "popping" effect.  
As the story goes by, I managed to grasp better and enjoy the movie more.  Love the clever battle strategy used against the bandits and YANG's wittiness and swiftness, and his charisma indeed captivated me. LIN Gengxin's appearance is much different from his previous movie characters.  Cast aside is, his usual clean and boyish looks with a bit of cheekiness; he turned to a matured and solemn military leader.  While his fans may lament that it is a pity to hide his clean look, I beg to defer, as this may be a turning point for him, to let others pay more attention on his acting skills than his look. While Chen Xiao is a supporting role, there is something about him that caught the attention of several of us, watch for yourself and see if you feel the same.  

The alternative ending is basically exaggerating and redundant, though some may enjoy the actions and blasting effects. The use of flash backs from modern times back to the civil war era and back to present-day were somehow unessential and badly done. However, as an overall, the film is still a great movie with the great & swift actions, witty mind games, and clever battle strategy.


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