ASIAN FILM - Article
09:05 - 22nd February 2013, by David West

The Kung Fu Superman

In The Storm Warriors, two brothers-in-arms Wind (Ekin Cheng) and Cloud (Aaron Kwok) must save all of China from the terrifying power of Lord Godless (Simon Yam). Cloud devotes himself to mastering swordsmanship while Wind decides that the only way to raise his powers to the level of Lord Godless is to turn to the dark side of martial arts. He studies with Lord Wicked (Kenny Wong) to unlock his inner darkness, but the process works all too well and soon Cloud finds he must face his old comrade in a fight to the finish.

The Storm Warriors is the latest movie to be adapted from the work of Hong Kong comics' biggest star Ma Wing-Shing. Previously director Andrew Lau tapped into Ma's extensive library with his films A Man Called Hero, based on the Chinese Hero series, and The Storm Riders. In Ma's imagination, the martial artist is no mere kickboxer or karateka capable of breaking wooden boards. Instead, his kung fu masters split mountains in half. It is the kung fu hero as superman.

The Storm Riders and The Storm Warriors are both adapted from Ma's comic series that started life in 1984 called Fung Wan, which means Wind and Cloud, the names of the two lead characters. In addition to the two live action films, there was an animated feature in 2008 called Storm Riders - Clash of the Titans. For The Storm Warriors, brothers Danny and Oxide Pang take over from Andrew Lau behind the camera. Ma Yuk-Sing handles the action choreography and it gives a good indication of the lineage of the movie that Ma Yuk-Sing frequently worked alongside Ching Siu-Tung in the past on films including The East Is Red and Executioners.

The Storm Warriors is not the place to go if you want to see displays of kung fu or genuine swordsmanship. Instead, the Pang Brothers created the world of their film using CGI, in a fashion inspired by Zack Snyder's 300 - which was adapted from a comic book by Frank Miller. The cycle keeps spinning back upon itself. Ma Wing-Shing wrote and drew the comic book adaptation of Zhang Yimou's film Hero, which in turn is heavily inspired by the visual style of Ma's work. While The Storm Warriors employs the very latest computer technology to create its displays of superhuman martial arts feats, it is the latest entry in a genre that stretches back to the dawn of Chinese filmmaking. The Kung Fu superman shows no sign of losing his powers with age. The Storm Warriors is out now from Cine Asia.

This is an extract from a feature which originally appeared in NEO 75.

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