The Storm Riders (1998)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2006-03-16
Summary: Fun fantasy with great special effects...
The Storm Riders is a fine film chock-full of intrigue, betrayal and lost love. Ekin Cheng and Aaron Kwok play two adopted children of Conqueror (Sonny Chiba) who have grown into powerful martial artists and may determine his destiny. After receiving a prophecy from the Mud Buddha (Wayne Lai Yiu-Cheung), Conqueror finds the two children from their birth charts and, after killing their parents, raises them as his own. He determines that if he can manipulate them and raise them as his allies, he can escape his own fate and rule all of China. Whispering Wind (Cheng) and Striding Cloud (Kwok) have grown into distictly different men, with Cloud carrying out Conqueror's wishes (no matter how evil) without question while Wind has developed an acute concious, as well as a deep love for Conqueror's daughter Charity (Kristy Yeung Kung-Yu). Although she is bethrothed to Wind, Cloud has also fallen in love with her, which exposes a growing rivalry that has disastrous consequences. After the falling out, the real question remains as to whether or not Cloud and Wind will indeed put their differences aside and fulfill their destinies.

I was very pleasantly surprised by The Storm Riders and it's great use of top-notch special effects. Save for an awkward initial battle that has an obvious computer-generated background and effects, the rest of the movie lives up to the hype with fantasticly cool powers and choreography. Although I have never read the comic, the incredible fighting styles of Cloud, Wind and Conqueror seem to be represented in an innovative and exciting way. Although obviously known mostly for their singing, both Cheng and Kwok give good performances (although somewhat limited emotionally) to their characters. Sonny Chiba is excellent as well, obviously having fun with the supreme Conqueror. Although billed somewhat prominently, Shu Qi plays a small part as Muse, the daughter of a local healer who cares for Wind after a paticularly bloody fight. Even with limited screen time, she manages to display a significant amount of pouts, coyish smiles and generally uber-cute emotions. She without doubt has a screen presence that the camera and audiences can not get enough of. If you are a fan of epic-style story telling with interesting characters, complex plots and fantastical wuxia marital arts abilites, The Storm Riders should certainly be on your lists of must-sees.
Reviewer Score: 8