TL;DR – A fascinating action story, held back by some frustrating characters.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.
Warriors of Future Review –
If there is one thing that will get me immediately interested in a film, it is a story about trying to fight for a future. The world has gone to pot, but there is one chance to save us all. I can’t help but sucked into stories like this, and today we look at one around an alien plant.
So to set the scene, technology had been advancing at a prodigious pace in the last century, as was the propensity for destruction, aided by the development of military robots. The wars and ecological decline led to a societal collapse worldwide. It is hard to go on when even the air you breathe is toxic, so what governments that were left started building Skynets over cities so they could purify the poisonous air. Things were beginning to turn around when a meteorite crashed into the plant. It caused immense destruction, to where it hit City B-16, and it carried an alien plant called Pandora that rapidly expanded when exposed to water. A turn that humanity might not be able to recover from.
One of the underrated parts of narratives is the constraints that film adds to keep the tension up. While people often deride a ticking clock, having a deadline creates a framework you need in a movie where you only have 90 minutes to explore a complete narrative. I liked the deadline that Warriors of the Future presented. Pandora is both a danger but also an opportunity. If a tropical storm hits the plant, it could expand to a point past containment, and then the whole world is stuffed. But if it could be adapted, it could be used to save the planet. But if they fail, hundreds of thousands might die to stop containment from failing. It is a compelling scenario because the stakes are clear from the start, so you feel every shift and setback.
From a production perspective, we get a bit of a mixed bag. There are moments when this film is visually stunning, some of the best I have seen. One of the highlights is Pandora’s design and implementation, which looks like only green vines until it opens up and rips some military helicopters apart with ruthless efficiency. I wish we had gotten more of it throughout the film, given how well that sequence went. However, from those highs, we approach some sections that look more like stop-motion animation. It is unfortunate because the divide between the highs and lows makes those moments when it does not come together all the more noticeable. This is not helped by editing choices that use a combination of speed-ramping and slomo in ways that inhibit both their strengths and some clearly dubbed moments.
Another mixed bag comes from the characters who oscillate from triumphant badasses to frustrating additions. Louis Koo and Sean Lau both give commanding performances that perfectly fit the tone that the film is going for. Conversely, Yau Tai-long/Skunk (Philip Keung) is the comic relief the film needs to pull back from its intensity. However, with those highs come frustrations. From the moment Connor Kwong (Wan Guopeng) was introduced, I knew exactly how his character arc would go and how annoyed I would be by it, and I was mainly on the money. The same goes for the commander-in-chief General Sean Li (Nick Cheung), one of the dullest antagonists I have seen put to film. Unfortunately, many of the female characters in the movie also suffer the same fate.
In the end, do we recommend Warriors of Future? Well, there are many frustrations, but when you get past them, there is still an entertaining film here. The film probably bites off more than it can chew with environmental decline, asteroid impact, alien plants, and bad AI, but I will take a movie trying to do too much over one that doesn’t try at all. If you liked Warriors of the Future, we would recommend to you The Adventurers.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Warriors of Future
Directed by – Ng Yuen-fai
Screenplay by – Lau Ho-leung & Mak Tin-shu
Music by – Chan Kwong-wing
Cinematography by – Ng Man-ching
Edited by – Wong Hoi & Luk Chi-ho
Production/Distribution Companies – One Cool Film Production, Media Asia Film Production, World Universe Culture, iQiyi Motion Pictures (Beijing), Beijing Unimedia Television Culture, Tianjin Maoyan Weying Media, Shenzhen Film Studio, Shanghai CMC Pictures, Beijing Gutian Film and Television Production, Shenzhen Film & Television Co., Beijing Le Art Media & Culture Co., Lok Tin Films Production & Netflix
Starring – Louis Koo, Sean Lau, Carina Lau, Philip Keung, Tse Kwan Ho, Wu Qian, Wan Guopeng, Nick Cheung, Janice Wu, Eddy Ko & Cheng Xiaoxia
Rating – Australia: M;