Wu Dang is a mix of a martial arts competition picture and Indiana Jones. Director Leung never quite emphasizes the 1920s setting, partially because of the plot–the action moves quickly to a timeless temple–but also because everything in Dang looks so fake, if Leung doesn’t move fast, the CG shows. His direction has a lack of personality anyway, which sort of suits Dang. There’s no personality anywhere in it.
Watching the film, I wondering if the target audience is kids. The kung fu scenes are slow–Lincoln Lo’s lame music makes for poor accompaniment–and the script is just dumb. Maybe kids don’t care about the acting being terrible or Tony Cheung’s bad cinematography. Dragging out the action to make up for lack of story only works if the action enterains.
There is one big problems with Dang–technically speaking. Cheung Ka-fai’s editing. He has glaring, obvious jump cuts, he doesn’t match where the characters are standing or, since there’s a lot of wire-work, floating. The only thing worse than Cheung Ka-fai’s editing is that score from Lo. Combined, the two make Dang an ugly film.
As the lead, Zhao Wenzhuo is terrible. He’s got a daughter with him on the treasure hunt (Josie Xu) in an attempt to make the character likable. It fails, mostly because of Zhao’s unbelievable performance. As his romantic interest, Mini Yang is lame. Xu probably gives the best performance and she’s not particularly good.
Dang‘s a waste of time.
Directed by Patrick Leung; written by Chan Khan; director of photography, Tony Cheung; edited by Cheung Ka-fai; music by Lincoln Lo; produced by Chan and David Wang; released by Mei Ah Entertainment.
Starring Zhao Wenzhuo (Professor Tang Yunlong), Mini Yang (Tian Xin), Fan Siu-wong (Shui Heyi), To Yu-hang (Bai Long), Josie Xu (Tang Ning), Paw Hee-ching (Shui Heyi’s mother), Henry Fong (Xie, the chief abbot) and Shaun Tam (Paul Chen).