Fantasia 2012: Cold Steel has great action, but is poor propaganda
Directed by David Wu
Hong Kong, 2012
David Wu is one of the most important contributors to the contemporary action film, working as an editor on such action classics as Hard Boiled, Bullet in the Head, A Better Tomorrow and Peking Opera Blues. Best known for his collaborations with John Woo, he has nonetheless made a name for himself, and in the early 1990s directed a series of feature length films. In recent years, his directorial efforts have been for television, and he has worked on a number of series and TV movies. Cold Steel, released this year, is his first feature length effort since 1994. Set in the late 1930s, the film is set during the second Sino-Japanese war and chronicles the life of Orphan Mu Lianfeng, as he joins the army and becomes a world-class sniper. The film succeeds in creating tense action sequences. As one can predict, David Wu creates incredibly tight action, utilizing a sparse and effective editing style to bring the most out of each scene. Chosen moments of slow-motion emphasize the drama, and help create an effective flow of action during gun-fights. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is not nearly as effective, generally lacking in clarity and direction.