ReviewWriter: Ng SuzhenWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“The Warlords” and “Red Cliff”
Pretty boys may head the cast in this epic about the legendary Yang family but the plot is a solid one involving the seven sons of General Yang Ye (Adam Cheng) setting out to rescue their father from certain death under the enemy's vengeful eye.
Traditionally, stories about the Yang family is all about serving the country but director Ronny Yu and producer Raymond Wong has decided to provide a fresh insight into the famous warrior family by focusing on the respect and filial piety the Yang boys have for their father.
When sixth brother, Yan Zhao (Wu Chun), and seventh brother, Yan Si (Fu Xinbo), create trouble by accidently causing the death of Pangbao during a spar for the hand of a princess whom Yan Zhao is in love with, they inadvertently start a chain of events that will eventually lead to their father being trapped in the City of Wolverine during a battle with the Khitans.
Those who are familiar with the history of the Yang saga would know how the story end, but the journey is nevertheless an arduous one as the sombre mood for the expected outcome has been set right at the beginning of the movie.
Audience might experience certain difficulty in the beginning trying to figure out which brother is which with seven individuals to showcase in the film. Familiar faces such as Ekin Cheng as the oldest Yan Ping, Vic Chou as third brother, Yan Ang and Raymond Lam as fifth brother, Yan De, helps with identifying the siblings however, it would take more time for Malaysians to familiarise themselves with lesser-known Mainland actors like Yu Bo and Li Chen, who play second brother, Yan Ding and fourth brother Yan Hui respectively.
Vic Chou, who is better known as one-fourth of boy group F4, does a surprising job in giving a lasting impression as the third brother despite sharing equal screen time with the six other brothers. The silent yet foreboding role he plays comes across convincingly, without a trace of anything he has played in the past.
Ekin Cheng on the other hand, fits the role of the oldest like a hand to a glove. His presence alone convinces audience of his capabilities to pick up responsibilities as well as the willingness to take up the family burden when his father is away.
The relationship between family members is subtly conveyed as director Ronny Yu has dedicated most of the screen time to the battlefield. At times, you wished there were more scenes filmed to depict the rapport between the seven brothers but time is probably a large constraint with only 90 minutes and seven stars to showcase. That being said, one cannot help but feel that it is quite appropriate that the love and respect the brothers have for each other as well as their father unfolds during times of battle although those who are more sentimental would yearn for something that stretches beyond the field.
Bringing his Hollywood expertise into the fray for "Saving General Yang", movie lovers might pick up certain influences that the director has input into the movie. Flashes of "Lord Of The Rings" as well as "300" spring up during certain battle scenes but there might be more that goes beyond the director's influences that will be up to the audience to decipher.
For those who miss a good old epic movie showcasing the roots of the Chinese culture, "Saving General Yang" is a film worth checking out. Of course, for the ladies, it does not hurt that the Yang brothers also happen to be a good-looking lot.
Whatever the ending holds, the journey is one well-worth taking.Cinema Online, 01 April 2013