‘The Storm Warriors’ Proves Air-Bending Is For Wimps

By  · Published on July 2nd, 2010

I have a good Vietnamese friend who is legendary for her poor taste in movies. She’s an unapologetic fan of romantic comedies starring the Heigls and Hudsons of the world, she claims to enjoy the Twilight films, and she salivates over anything starring (or sung by) Hong Kong superstar Aaron Kwok. It’s for this last reason that I refer to her affectionately as a Kwok-nobbler. Needless to say, the news below excites her to no end.

One of the bigger fantasy films to come out of Hong Kong in the past fifteen years was Andrew Lau’s 1998 blockbuster, The Storm Riders. Kwok and Ekin Cheng star as Cloud and Wind, respectively, who become apprentices to a powerful warlord bent on domination. It’s filled to bursting with action and special effects, and while the martial arts and swordplay are fairly solid the effects are more goofy than impressive. Over a decade later a sequel has finally seen the light of day, and that same complaint is no longer applicable.

The Storm Warriors sees Wind and Cloud returning to fight a new battle and if the trailer is any indication not only are the fights and action scenes even more incredible but the special effects have been improved substantially. Check it out below for some impressive swordplay, truly artistic shots, and very cool visuals.

I’m not usually a big fan of such abundant CGI work, but this looks pretty damn sweet. The first film was more than a little too cheesy for my tastes, but the Pang Brothers look to have stepped up the drama and intensity alongside the improved visuals. The film is already available on import DVD from Hong Kong, but the UK’s CineAsia are releasing a definitive version this month. The DVD will be region 2 of course, and therefore require a region-free player, but their Blu-ray will be an all-region disc meaning it will be playable in US Blu-ray players. (The special features will most likely be in SD/PAL format though and will have playback issues on a Sony PS3.)

The official synopsis from CineAsia is here:

Based on hugely successful comic book series, ‘Fung Wan’, by writer, illustrator and publisher Ma Wing-Shing and directed by the visionary Pang Brothers (Bangkok Dangerous, The Eye trilogy), The Storm Warriors comes to DVD and Blu-Ray in July 2010 packed with Special Features including three featurettes focusing on the movie’s amazing special effects.

Taking its stylish visual cues from Zack Snyder’s groundbreaking adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, ‘300’, this highly anticipated sequel to Andrew Lau’s popular 1998 action-fantasy epic sees Asian superstars Ekin Cheng and Aaron Kwok reprising their roles as Wind and Cloud, respectively, two legendary warriors with the power to control the elements. The courage, skill and determination of Wind and Cloud have helped maintain a balance of peace throughout the empire for many years. But this time of tranquility is about to come to an end. Lord Godless, the evil warlord, has set his eyes on ruling all of China and, in an attempt to usurp the throne, has used a specially formulated poison to subdue the country’s leading martial arts masters, including the legendary swordsman, Nameless. Having absorbed all of Nameless’s powers in the process, Lord Godless has attained near invincibility. To prevent this barbaric quest to conquer China, Wind attempts to increase his powers by recklessly giving himself over to the stronger dark side of his mystical fighting arts, but, as his potency increases, he is completely overcome by evil. Now, Cloud must master an all-powerful, unbeatable sword-style, fight to defeat Godless and then to face his ‘brother’ in a titanic duel to the death.

Winner of the Best Visual Effects Award at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards earlier this year and co-starring some of the biggest names in Hong Kong cinema, including Nicholas Tse, Charlene Choi, Simon Yam, Yan Tang and Tak-bun Wong, The Storm Warriors is a dazzling action-fantasy showcase of eye-popping visual effects and epic battle sequences that are “nothing short of spectacular” (Beyond Hollywood).”

The Storm Warriors hits DVD (region 2) and Blu-ray (region-free) from Cine Asia on July 12th, 2010. Special Features include audio commentary by Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan, 7 making-of featurettes including 3 specifically on the special effects, an interview gallery, and a trailer gallery. Both discs have English subtitles and come with Dolby Digital Cantonese 2.0 & 5.1 (DVD) and DTS HD MA Cantonese 5.1 (Blu-ray) audio options.

What do you think of the trailer? Wouldn’t you consider ‘Kwok-nobbler’ as a term of endearment?

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.