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XM (1991)
Swordsman in Double Flag Town

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 02/02/2003
Summary: Excellent production; [impossible-to-enjoy] movie

Here we have a Mainland movie with Mainland trademarks all over. The director does what Mainland directors do best - tell a simple story within a natural, quiet atmosphere, without the earthshaking action sequences of Hollywood or HK cinemas. "Double Flag" is nothing like the HK wuxia movies, but it's probably more authentic/realistic than anything HK ever made.

Unfortunately, the action is nonexistent. The longest "fight scene" is less than 3 seconds. The characters in this movie are uneducated, ill-mannered people from a small town in the middle of a desert, and their lack of mannerism disgusted me. Thankfully the female protagonist changed her attitude soon enough; I really wanted to stranggle her myself. All these barbaric citizens make you repeat "idiots, idiots, idiots."

And so I had absolutely no fun watching Double Flag, but I can appreciate its uniqueness as a Mainland historical drama. The greatest pleasure for me was to experience the exclusive Mainland feel (esp the background music) of the late 80s/early 90s.