Originally released in 1994, Wong Kar Wai revisited his film a decade later, to create the definitive version of his epic martial arts tale of love, revenge and honour.
While Days of Being Wild
failed to ignite the box office, its critical success confirmed Wong Kar Wai as a major filmmaker at home and abroad. Inspired by characters in Jin Yong’s novel The Eagle Shooting Heroes
, Wong embarked on a grand, historical tale that centred on a jaded, lone swordsman, Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung), eking out a living as a gun for hire and longing to forget the woman he left behind (Maggie Cheung). Stationed in a remote desert outpost, he encounters a series of characters on their own specific quest, including the blind swordsman (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), Northern Beggar (Jacky Cheung), Murong Yin/Yang (Brigitte Lin) and Huang Yaoshi (Tony Leung Ka-fai). Boasting an A-List cast and impressive set pieces choreographed by legendary Hong Kong action director Sammo Hung, Ashes of Time
shares many elements of the classic wuxia
genre but steadfastly retains Wong’s authorial stamp. When the film was originally released, he said, “the traditional martial arts film has the goal of stimulating the viewer’s senses. I wanted the senses to also be a means for expressing the characters feelings.” With stunning performances throughout, Ashes of Time Redux
succeeds on both levels.