God of War (2017)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2018-03-16
A history lesson with some cast of thousands battle scenes and a few all too rare action/fight interludes including a staff fight between Sammo Hung and Vincent Zhao in the confined area of a prison cell. A lot of court intrigue that never gets intriguing although it could have been an excellent movie by itself (Thirteen Days for example), plenty of noble Chinese peasants and workers who unite under the banner of defending the homeland from vicious Japanese pirates, particularly the dastardly ronin who, unlike the noble samurai, relax between battles by raping Chinese village women. The pirates are actually samurai of the Matsuko clan army, disguised as buccaneers so that they can accumulate enough booty to buy weapons for Japan to use in ruling the world.

There are a lot of set pieces, typical of the genre both among Hong Kong/Chinese films and those made in the West. For example there are many scenes of villagers training to be soldiers--running obstacle courses, training with weapons (including an ingenious many bladed and barbed thrusting weapon disguised as a bamboo plant), and hand to hand combat all led by either General Qi or Dacheng, the leader of the miners recruited en masse into Qi’s army. This mass enlistment came about after Qi convinced Dacheng that the current army would guard the miner’s gold--and after Qi defeated DaCheng in a well choreographed fight.

The movie is bookended by large scale battles, essentially scenes of mass slaughter that wouldn’t be out of place in any war (the western front of World War I, for example) where life was extremely cheap and commanders had no reason to spare their troops. “God of War” has the kernels of a few movies in it but doesn’t hang together well enough to make one good one.
Reviewer Score: 6