Thursday, 20 September 2012

Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker (1994) - ★★

Director: Ping He
Writer: Daying Ye, Feng Jicai
Stars: Jing Ning, Gang Wu, Xiaroui Zhao

Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker is a lackluster Chinese beauty that could have been great, but fell short as a result of its slow tempo, disconnected characters and what I consider to be quite a boring story. This is a film about love, yet had more scenes with fireworks than passion.

Jing Ning inherits her father's fireworks factory, for his wife bared him no son. She is known as the master of the factory as a child, then grows to be known as the boss. Her business is thriving and life is peaceful in the city that she runs, until one day a fiery, considerate and proud painter named Gang Wu is hired to paint the gods on the doors and urns at the factory. She is forbidden to marry in order to prevent outsiders from factory ownership. Many problems and struggles arise when she falls in love with the bold and unafraid painter, leaving her peaceful life in pieces.

This sounds like it should be a compelling movie, but it isn't. The reason for this is that the lead actors had very little chemistry and it was hard to connect with their stories, their struggle, and their pain. I'm a sucker for romance films and find many tragic movies moving, but this one didn't do it for me. Without likable or interesting characters, what is a movie? It's boring. The story progressed unbearably slow and the two star-crossed lovers continued leaving each other, then coming back, then hurting each other, then healing. It repeated itself, which did my head in.

There are two redeeming qualities about this film that made me give it two stars. One, the scenes all looked exquisite, elaborate and historical. That's what I love about asian cinema, they know how to polish an otherwise dusty movie. The other thing I loved was the music, which was so beautiful that it evoked more emotion out of me than the characters.

Should you watch Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker? No. It is forgettable and a waste of a couple hours that could be better spent watching a superior film. Might I suggest Hero by Yimou Zhang?

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