The Warriors Gate, a big box office bomb.
This is a big bad fantasy movie, played by famous international stars, screen written and produced by Luc Besson, directed by Matthias Hoene. The film stars Ni Ni as Princess Su Lin, Uriah Shelton as Jack, Mark Chao as Zhao.
There are two basic laws in Chinese and Western co-filmed movies. One is that the Chinese and Western co-filmed movies must be box office bombs; the other is that the beautiful Chinese must fall in love with the Western white man, no matter how worthless the Western white man is. Luc Besson has disappointed us because we want him to refute the two laws, and he failed. In this Chinese and Western fantasy film, neither we see fusion of Chinese and French style in the production, nor do we get the feeling of fantasy.
The story of Warriors Gate is very simple, similar to the game that we beat the beasts and get upgraded. Here the story changes the background with Oriental game elements, and the warrior defeats the cruel and gets the love of beauty. Anyway, it is very funny that only there are seven warriors guarding China who is never lack of human resources. As the hostile force of China, as wicked as possible, the Cruel give us the simple stupid impression. As the leader of the Cruel, Arun, has nothing but tough muscles and ugly face, and the rest of the Cruel tribe are nothing, simple-minded and low IQ. But, this is the very incapable villain leader who sneaks into the Chinese Royal Court to poison the six warriors to death and the King. That is really unacceptable.
The culture shock in The Warriors Gate.
It is hard to tell a simple story. The difficulty lies in the eastern and Western culture difference. The traditional Chinese culture with a long history, formed in the time river, has its own unique system of mythology and aesthetic system. If you want to seriously tell well the story with Chinese context, you must first understand the characteristics and the essence of Chinese culture and aesthetic. In the absence of systematic understanding and experience of ever-lasting cultural heritage with history of thousands of years, it is difficult to talk about the story of the oriental culture. The film tries hard to tell a good story, but tells a story with Oriental background and the protagonist in Western way of thinking. That’s really awkward.
The film has the beginning of conventional pattern. A decadent hoody accidentally opens the door to another world, and involves in the struggle between good and evil in the oriental background. A beautiful Princess is kidnapped by the leader of the Cruel tribe, and with the warrior who protects the Princess the hoody launched the way to beat the evil forces and rescue the princess. This routine sounds familiar. You will feel more familiar with the routine in another way that the Dragon captures the Princess, and the King offer a reward to ask for warrior to save the King, and there will always be a mysterious hoody who leads the team to kill the Dragon and eventually save the Princess, and the King marry the Princess to him. See the happy ending? Even young Kids know such old western fairy tales. The Warriors Gate just changes the background to oriental background, and the Dragon to a Cruel leader.
Well, even if background is changed, Luc Besson deserves his reputation if then the story is well told, but he never really understands Chinese and China. Take the representative character in the story for example, the Princess who need rescue is the princess in fairy tale of Westerners imagination, and Westerners think that the princess should look like that and dress like and live like that. But, in the traditional China, women were gentle and graceful, and they seldom went out of the door, unless they had no alternative but to. Even women soldiers in ancient China were all restrained and contained. Even the very famous and powerful women in history mostly followed the ancient rites, left the involuntary publicity, stayed restraint and courtesy. The Chinese female characters were directly related with the history and culture. But, in the film, the Princess looks Oriental on the face, but Western inside. The word, ABC, i.e., American Born Chinese, is really a reasonable word to describe her. Since the mind of the film remains Western it is meaningless to make a real Chinese to play the role. A real Chinese who grows up in China, without the long-term influence and impact of western culture, has no the Western way of thinking, has an in-depth understanding of the Chinese people, is doomed to play a false play in the film.
In addition to the role of the princess, the witches, monsters, devil, and so on, that appear in the film, don’t exist in the Chinese mythology system. Except the Chinese looking, their inherent natures have nothing to do with the Chinese culture. They are just Chinese culture and Chinese characters imagined by the western consciousness. These really embarrass the audiences.
An obvious western story is mechanically told in the Oriental back ground. Those undoubtedly Oriental characters stiffly live in the Western thinking style. The film makes Western audiences think that the people in the film are not vivid, and Oriental audiences have no sense of identity. All these make the film a big box office bomb.