Aug 17, 2010

Martial Arts Month: Green Snake

DIR: Tsui Hark

Less a martial arts film than... oh God only knows what this film is... God, or perhaps Tsui Hark, but I wouldn't put money on Tsui Hark. It seems to tell the story of two snake spirits who take human forms (the heart stoppingly beautiful forms of Maggie Cheung and Joey Wong). Wong's White Snake is older than Cheung's Green, and thus she's more able to appear human, and even manages to forge a relationship with a young scholar (Wu Xing-Guo). Theere's also something about a powerful monk (Zhao Wen-Zhou) who has taken it upon himself to destroy these two 'snake evils', this involves a lot of wire assisted leaping around and much use of the incantation "Bo ye ba la hung", which you will know as well as the sound of your own name by the time these 93 minutes are up.

Green Snake is like eating a three course meal consisting purely of LSD. It makes very little sense, you're never sure what's going on, but some of it sure is beautiful. Wong and Cheung both give fine performances under the circumstances, and Cheung is especially effective as the impetuous Green, but the film's pleasures are largely visual, and centred on its female stars.

Many scenes revolve around the scantily clad, frequently wet, Cheung and Wong almost making out. Honestly, if you can think of something better to hang a movie on I'll be happy to help you get it made. It's never explicit, and there's not a frame of nudity from either Cheung or Wong, but dear God it's sexy.

So, if you're not too concerned about little things like a coherent narrative, and you've got a thing for Chinese girls Green Snake comes highly recommended. Otherwise, this one's not really for you.

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