aNewDomain — In a sense, Lu Chuan’s Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe’s got everything: ancient civilization, archaeology, ancient civilizations, modern history, terrific Chinese scenery and a retro mix of mysticism that’s just delightful.
It’s a gorgeously produced piece of fluff.
Serious it ain’t, but if you loved H. Rider Haggard’s She and King Solomon’s Mines when you were a kid you might enjoy it.
I definitely did.
Oh yeah, the story. Well, it’s all about the search for an inter-dimensional portal that threatens to open and free alien beasts into our world.
Our Hero, naturally, has some sort of mystical connection to ancient ancestors responsible for closing the portal. For the longest time he rejects his “destiny” and is assigned to working in a remote library after the first act’s deadly encounter with dark forces.
Naturally, there are sinister forces at work that want to take him away from his library and back to the deep underground labyrinth that shrouds the ancient portal.
Or some such nonsense. There’s nothing here to take seriously. But director Lu Chuan brings us extraordinary action scenes and scenery that is almost as spectacular as what we saw in The Great Wall. Also we get to see a lot of camels.
Special effects are nicely integrated with live action, too, I should add. There’s a gigantic avalanche that serves as a great example of such integration. English subtitles are serviceable.
An added attraction: This movie’s timeline spans from the late 1960s to the 1980s. We see glimpses of Chinese patriotism and militarism as a backdrop. That’s a nice touch.
To this Westerner such views of China’s “Cultural Revolution” provide a perspective you just don’t see in export-oriented Chinese adventure films.
Lest you take this historical context stuff too seriously, an Elvis impersonato representing Western decadence will change your mind immediately.
If you’re looking for a fun and colorful action movie, definitely check this out.
For aNewDomain, I’m Dennis D. McDonald.
Here’s the trailer.
An earlier version of this movie review appeared on Dennis D. McDonald’s DDMCD site. Read it here.