A Visually Stunning Chinese Epic
If there’s one thing the Chinese know how to do really well, it’s write a compelling fantasy-action mash-up. From the Sorcerer and the White Snake through to Monkey King and beyond, this genre is rich with imaginative concepts, high fantasy prophecies and lots of well-shot action. In that respect, Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity has enough moving parts and thrilling set pieces to see you through to the epic conclusion of this tale.
The movie opens with a dazzling fight sequence, combining elements of Doctor Strange with grandiose magic as an evil serpent begins to stir, threatening to kill the guardians that have been sent to defend their land.
In this world, demon and human occupy the same world and in true fantasy fashion, our protagonist Qingming just so happens to be half-human and half-demon. He travels to the Imperial City but in doing so, immediately crosses paths with hot-headed guardian Boya, who loathes demons but takes a shining to Qingming,
A murder inside the palace forces them both to team up in order to track who the killer is and stop the evil serpent before it’s too late.
In truth, there really isn’t anything particularly outstanding with the story but the unique setting, interesting visuals and a few original fantasy concepts are enough to overlook any shortcomings in the plot.
And visually, Dream of Eternity is absolutely gorgeous. This is a real aesthetic treat, with a keen eye for colour and some impressive special effects. Whether it be the monstrous f0rm of the serpent itself or the pitch-perfect costume design for the different characters, this is one good looking movie.
Of course, it’s not all about the visuals but in this Chinese fantasy epic it definitely gets some brownie points during the middling second act. In fact, much of the middle hour of this movie feels like it’s building up foundations for the final fight rather than keeping things consistently exciting and entertaining. In that respect, you’ll likely find yourself a little impatient to get back to the action around this point.
The delightful blend of murder mystery and outright fantasy epic actually works quite well and although it does feel like tearing apart at the seams on more than one occasion, there’s enough bombastic action and recognizable story beats to keep this one chugging along until the end.
The action is really where this one shines though and the eclectic blend of magic and hand to hand combat keeps things feeling fresh and consistently exciting. It helps too that the choreography for these fights is equally as impressive.
If you’re in the mood for a fantasy epic with an intriguing premise and can go in with a bit of patience, Yin-Yang is definitely worth your time. It’s a film rich in Eastern mythology and ideas, a wonderfully realized fantasy world and one giant, horrific serpent. It’s not perfect but it is compelling enough to recommend checking out.