Even with the difficulties of being a small state located on an island and the actions of the Chinese authorities, Taiwanese cinema has given rise to some important filmmakers, and has also produced remarkable films of all styles throughout all eras. The cinema, sometimes, makes its way.
In one of our browsing rounds, we decided to focus on Taiwanese productions. Specifically, Taiwanese productions of the wuxia genre, in which we can find some essential gems or potential modern classics. These three tapes are good and varied example of Taiwanese action cinemaand are perfect for discovering or rediscovering in streaming.
‘The Dragon Inn’ (‘Long Men Kezhan’, 1967)
Address: KingHu. Distribution: Polly Shang-Kuan, Chun Shih, Pai Ying, Han Ying-Chieh, Ah-Tsai.
See if this classic by King Hu (a key name in the creation and expansion of wuxia) is essential, as even another great Taiwanese work such as ‘Good Bye, Dragon Inn’ uses it as a reference for its plot. This martial arts film beautifully explores the marriage of supernatural action with dramatic realismshowing the bloody hunt of a eunuch to eliminate an emperor and his descendants.
View on FilmBox+
‘Tiger and Dragon’ (‘Wo hu cang long’, 2000)
Address: Ang Lee. Distribution: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Sihung Lung.
The most international director that the country has produced could not be missing, as is the case with Ang Lee. And one of his most transcendental works was precisely one of those that most exported the potential of wuxia cinema and that of his country. ‘Tiger and Dragon’ is a elegant and amazing film with elements raised to the maximum power, from the dramatic moments to the choreography of the fights, and from the fantastic elements to the moments of beauty. And it has a legendary cast.
See in Filmin | In Espinof: The best action movies of all time
‘The Assassin’ (‘Nie yin niang’, 2015)
Address: Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Distribution: Shu Qi, Chang Chen, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Ethan Juan, Nikki Hsieh.
Mentioning potential modern country classics earlier, it was clearly in reference to this amazing film by Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Another rethinking of the bases of wuxia that enhances its most elegant and beautiful aesthetic elements as much as possible. Perhaps at the cost of making it an accessible and more conventionally entertaining film, but ‘The Assassin’ also has moments that make it absolutely magnetic and dazzling. Few action movies are made with such care.
See on Amazon Prime Video and on Filmin | Criticism in Espinof