aka Bing Feng: Chong Sheng Zhi Men
Directed by Wing-cheong Law
Cantonese, Hindi and Mandarin with English Subtitles
Three frozen warriors from the Ming Dynasty 400 years ago are being transported through Hong Kong when the truck they’re being carried in crashes, awakening and unleashing them upon the modern world. One of the warriors, Ho Ying, finds he’s being persued by the other two warriors who betrayed him all those years ago as he was framed for leaking secrets to the enemy Japanese pirates. With the help of nightclub hostess May, Ho Ying must survive long enough to find the Golden Wheel of Time so he may attempt to get back home to his time, clear his name and prevent the slaughter of his whole family.
Looking as though it was originally created for the 3D market, ICEMAN aka Bing Feng: Chong Sheng Zhi Men is a reimagining of 1989 flick The Iceman Cometh (Ji Dong Ji Xia). This version stars Donnie Yen as the protagonist who must insert Shiva’s penis into the Golden Wheel of Time in order to return back to the Ming Dynasty but along the way he finds himself being hunted down by both warriors from the past and the modern day police. If you thought a phallic symbol was bad enough, keep a look out for long distance urination and exploding toilets full of shit and you’ll have a bit of an idea just how silly this film can get.
In terms of plot, ICEMAN is very loose in its storytelling and sometimes I struggled to understand what the heck was going on as the film relies on flashbacks, each one subsequently explaining more and revealing the bigger picture. The plot seems to be sacrificed in order for the action to take centre stage when the characters aren’t having petty squabbles. Donnie Yen and Kung Fu Killer‘s Baoqiang Wang and Kang Yu provide the bulk of the martial arts, with Yen and Wang in particular performing some brilliantly choreographed scenes. A lot of the action is also aided by CGI and the use of wirework to give the ancient warriors a super-human aesthetic as they effortless glide about from rooftop to rooftop and through windows. Their personal demeanors though are rather down to earth as Wang and Yu’s characters can’t get enough of modern day food, particularly chicken curry.
Whilst the whole film is laced with humour, it very rarely raises a laugh. Sure, it’s lighthearted enough to watch but unfortunately for films fans, there’s not enough substance to the story to make you want to care about the characters or what happens on screen. Therefore you find yourself purely looking forward to the action scenes with little interest in the overarching story. Unfortunately, the martial arts scenes worth watching are few and far between and a giant set piece at the end doesn’t quite cut it as it should, often feeling like it outstays its welcome.
There’s decent performance in this film but the whole movie seems to suffer from script and screenplay issues as it battles with itself to be part fantasy, part comedy and part action movie. It just doesn’t seem to be enough of any of those genres to be worth investing in.
ICEMAN is mildly entertaining but ultimately disappointing.