Ten reasons to watch "The Taking of Tiger Mountain"
10: Andy Lau look-alike Du Yiheng as a toothless petty criminal.
9: Campy warlord bandits.
8: The fiercely bearded
Zhang Hanyu in an immense black fur coat.
7: Matrix slow-mo bullets and bright blood droplets.
6: A spunky kid, brave field nurse, and lots of warrior camaraderie: These PLA soldiers are our Allies, the Seven Samurai, and the Spartan 300 all in one, and their story is based on real soldiers in China at the end of World War II. That they happen to have been Chairman Mao's heroes only makes you realize that your military heroes can also serve as political propaganda, because the stock characters and emotions are Hollywood-universal.
5-1: Snow: Real, resistant, mounded snow, through which men flounder, horses pitch, rifles poke, and tanks plow. Usually in action films, snow is a stylized white wave, frosty and cool. Here, the mountain villagers and Communist soldiers struggle around, through, over, and under this massive element. The actors' breath is visible even inside the drafty rooms of this world. It's incredible, and makes Western action-adventure "winter" scenes look wimpy.