Ashes of Time (1994)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2005-06-18
Summary: Extremely complicated...
Ashes of Time tells the story of a lonely swordsman and the people that come in and out of his life. Other than that, the plot is one of the most complicated I've ever come across, and I don't believe I can even start to explain it. There are about 4 main characters and all seem to be in love with each other and are constantly confiding their problems to one another. Everyone moves in and out of shadows and never seems to facing the camera, so you don't know who is who and what is going on. The action scenes are very choppy and utilize a camera sytle that tends to blur eveything that moves faster than normal actions. This makes the fight scenes (the few that there are) completely impossible to follow. Throw into the mix incomprehensible "deep" dialouge about life and love, and you have a pretty bad movie.

Considering Wong Kar Wai's other films (the great Chungking Express, As Tears Go By, etc.), this movie was a complete disappointment. One of the best things about Wai's other movies was the interaction between the characters and the budding romances that he manages to capture so well. This film offers nothing in that regard, and is way too muddled to allow the viewer to develop a sense of the characters and any of their relationships.

I have read that this film needs to be seen multiple times to get a complete understanding and appreciation for it, but until a better version (with easier to read subtitles and the ability to see the whole frame at once) is released on DVD, I don't recommend it unless you're a huge Wong Kar Wai fan.

Reviewer Score: 3