09:48 - 16th July 2013, by Calum Waddell

The Resistance

Digital filmmaking is tough to get right, because all too often the end result looks horribly cheap. The Resistance is an example of an epic idea - and an ambitious sense of story and surrounding - ultimately failing because the finances are utterly nonexistent.

The film is set in 1937, when Japan invaded China and instigated the notorious massacre of 300,000 people in Nanking. The focus of the plot is on a mysterious figure who is destroying the immediate invaders with the sort of martial arts skills that suggest something of a superhero. The top general in the army is understandably worried about this, whilst an American reporter struggles to document what is going on.

Made by a native Chinaman (Peng Zhang-Li, also behind The Last Kung Fu Monk) some of the moments are well captured, especially given the scant production values. Sequences of prison camps, for instance, and a land of slain bodies indicates that Zhang-Li desperately wants to evoke the tragedy and urgency of the times - and his passion for history is clearly there. The occasional chopsocky dust-up, meanwhile, feel intrusive and jarring, whilst the presence of CGI blood veers a serious scenario into farcical silliness. A closing swordfight, for example, is staged with a close-to-the-bone prowess that makes you wonder about the safety of the participants - so when a digital load of plasma fills the screen, the effect is dumbfounding. Ultimately, The Resistance might mean well, but this is not the sort of story suited to a project backed by pocket money.

Die-hard followers of the history of this period in time might find something of worth here, others may want to resist.
SCORE: 2/5
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