The Moon Warriors (1992)
Reviewed by: Arshadnm6 on 2005-04-09
Summary: Excellent plot and plenty of swordplay......
This epic swordplay action adventure, directed by Sammo Hung, tells the story of Fei, a fisherman (Andy Lau), and Yen Ling, a prince and king-to-be (Kenny Bee). When Yen Ling is betrayed and exiled by his own younger brother, the two form a friendship. Through unwittingly gaining the prince’s trust, Fei is sent to retrieve the prince’s fiancee, Yueh (Anita Mui, only daughter of Lan Ning-kwan, The Lord of Lanling played by Chang Yi), but falls in love with her instead. Meanwhile, the prince’s close bodyguard (Maggie Cheung) is secretly in love with him. This sets up a doomed love-triangle between the four of them. As an additional highlight to the movie, Fei’s friend, a killer whale, gets a credit in cast of characters in this action-filled fantasy. Meanwhile, the younger brother or 14th Prince (Kelvin Wong) is relentlessly plotting with his vast armies against the rebels to assassinate his older brother.

Apparently this movie’s action choreography was completed by numerous unknown action directors except for Tony Ching Siu-tung and Corey Yuen Kwai after which, Sammo Hung put a few brief finishing touches to it in order to attract audiences via a few popular names. The concept of the movie is basic but leaves enough time for the limited cast of main actors to shine through with their performances in roles which suits their natural style of acting at specific points in their careers (Maggie Cheung being irritating as always, Anita Mui as a spoilt girl, Andy Lau being a down-to-earth, honest and practical commoner and veteran Kenny Bee leading them all and rounding off any rough edges as an experienced and wise counsellor). Furthermore, Andy Lau brings a light-hearted and fresh feeling to the already dark vibes (for all of the heroes) echoing throughout the movie.

The action is solid, well-spaced out and aplenty to make it really count when needed. The different weapons used throughout the movie, never amounts to more than bows and arrows, swords or a halberd which is explained by the early period in which the movie is set. The costume designs, environments and locations used for the movie are amazing and well chosen. This movie is more about landscapes than villages, towns and cities so don’t expect to find the same settings as in the ‘Once upon a Time in China’ or Fong Sai Yuk’ series since they probably didn’t exist in those times on such a large scale. Also, the music score is wonderful and appropriately used at different stages throughout the move.

Overall, the plot is very emotional viewing the actors and considering the grander scale of the storyline. The movie is also the correct length and does not stretch or overly focus on any issue. The limited cast list never takes any energy out of the acting and is a rarity in films of such types. The different genres in this movie amazingly include good doses of action, romance, comedy, friendship and loyalty which appeals to a wider audience. This movie is very watch-able (highly recommended) and a true gem of its time and certainly would have pushed the careers of everyone who was involved in it to new heights at the time of the movie’s release. On the plus side, fans of Andy Lau might find that at the end of this movie, he actually survives, contrary to other movies that he has made in his career.

Overall Rating: 9.1/10
Reviewer Score: 9