Stream or skip? +2023

Sci-fi actioner from Hong Kong warrior of the future was first announced in 2015 with a different title and director. But after production delays, COVID delays and post-processing delays – VFX shooting is very labor intensive, just ask amazement – warrior eventually debuted to big box office numbers in Hong Kong, with Louis Koo, Sean Lau and Carina Lau leading the cast. In the future, humanity is already confronted with wars, diseases and climate catastrophes. Only then does a predatory alien life form arrive…

The essentials: In the future, frequent outbreaks of war have only become deadlier with the invention of military robots. Climate catastrophes have caused seemingly irreparable damage to the environment. Famine is rampant, disease is rampant, and mankind has erected protective domes over important cities called “Heavenly Webs.” Add to that the arrival of a meteor which, when it bursts, will spread a viral alien plant form known as “Pandora” across the surface of the earth, and the commander of the valiant aerial combat team, Johnson Cheng (Sean Lau), has a lot to do. When Colonel Tam (Carina Lau) arrives with orders from top management to attack the alien with a new type of growth-inhibiting “gene ball” – “If we can release P7N9 in Pandora’s stamp, we can stop it from growing…” – Cheng gives Tyler ( Louis Koo) ordered his team to assemble and refuel their plane. You have to kill an alien plant.

It’s not nearly as easy, of course. The operation has been plagued with dangers and bugs from the start, and it soon seems clear to the ACU that someone is tampering with their equipment and safety. Tam is a tough ass, no doubt about that, but she seems willing to put Cheng and Tyler to work. What about the quiet, scheming General Sean Li (Nick Cheung)? Or Pandora herself? Not only is the alien presence sentient, it has its own minions in a crowd of monstrous bug-looking bugs crossed with big cats.

With the bombs Li and Tam looking to drop as a last resort and mil-spec military robots threatening their operations sector, Tyler, Cheng, bumbling soldier Connor (Wan Guopeng), and “Skunk” (Phillip Keung), a stray gun -Ex-ACU member, must work against increasingly diminishing odds to recover and use the gene balls, rescue any stray human civilians still in the kill zone, and hopefully keep her own neck intact. It’s a deadly move. But if anyone can save the little people from a hungry plant alien and maybe the whole earth from further destruction, these guys can. Right?

What movies will it remind you of? The 2021 South Korean science fiction film space sweeper, while also committed to the MCU and also caught up in the COVID release date weirdness, it was still an incredibly entertaining visual spectacle. and warrior of the future shares cast members Louis Koo and Carina Lau Dynasty warriorsthe 2021 big-budget fantasy epic based on the Japanese video game franchise.

Notable performance: Koo is feisty here as super-soldier Tyler, and Carina Lau adds a few dashes of graceful subtlety to her version of the buttoned-up Colonel Tam. But it’s Phillip Keung who steals the show as Yau, aka “Skunk,” the disgraced former dogfight team member whose unconventional skills and oversized personality become an integral part of the suicide mission.

Memorable dialogue: “Tell your friend I’m not here to save him. And not only did I do it, I did it beautifully!” The constant bickering between former brothers-in-arms Skunk and Tyler is fueled by so many daring escapes and close shaves that it’s quickly apparent that this is the two friends’ true love language is.

gender and skin: Nothing here.

Our opinion: As viewers, the commercialization and marvelization of sci-fi action has trained our brains on what to expect. Production design is the one and in warrior of the future, the ACU’s “Skyfish” owes much to the MCU’s Quinjet, although in practice it more closely resembles a UH-60 Black Hawk chopper crossed with a V-22 Osprey. And while military robots were stomping through movies long before the rise of Marvel – with all its future tech and busting bugs, warrior has a spiritual descendant in Paul Verhoeven Starship Troopers – the mechanized suits worn by Tyler and his team warrior are in a direct line with Tony Stark’s ever-evolving Iron Man roster, from the in-helmet communications systems to the super-powered weapons and numerous weapon systems onboard.

in the warrior of the future, that brain workout we’ve all been subjected to doesn’t stop at simple aesthetics. It is also included in the choreography of the battle sequences and the accompanying sound and editing packs, and in warrior, whenever a mech-suited soldier is hurled into a broken-down car or fires a Gatling gun at an aggressive and advancing military robot, it does so with a sense of sound and sight that we’ve heard and seen before. Warriors of Future looks pretty snazzy and sounds pretty loud. But the film derives its sci-fi action from how much of it there is, rather than much else, be it in nuance or plot. All the banging engineering and admittedly impressive creature effects aside, we’re left with actors like Phillip Keung, Carina Lau and Louis Koo making what they can out of a worn-out script.

Our appeal: STREAM IT for the strong visual sense of warrior of the future, which certainly takes a lot of inspiration from the MCU, but isn’t afraid to be as big and loud as a sci-fi outing as it gets. But there’s some entertaining character work here too, particularly from wildman Phillip Keung.

Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @Glenganges

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