the beginning scene where the fleeing Roman legion (crossing the dusty, harsh Silky Road in shining armour) confronts Chinese Wild-Geese Gate fortress : tackles your curiosity and motion pictures of such grand scale – as to cover a good part of the whole known World at such time in history – should be attempted in careful consideration AND preparation .
[ THE SCENES ] there is more-than-enough going-on in this movie : so beginning with a modern satellite hovering over Earth, guiding coordinates to a team of action-heroe-looking Chinese-American teen-throbs (speaking p-e-r-f-e-c-t English), with futuristic tech gear is an extreme turn-off . aside from that : differing armies of various cultures, be it Romans, Persians, Mongols or Chinese (WoW ! addition of African warriors and Japanese samurais here would have ensued a cult-following) in the same scenes are curiously-intriguing, amid grand perspective of mountains and deserts : make a joyful visual spectacle throughout the movie .
* * * * * SPOILER ALERT ! * * * * *
[ THE STORY ] although the Chinese protectorate of Western Regions would have been a mighty army, here they appear more as a team of negotiators . tribes along the Silk Road had quarrels of their own, when in-comes : two fractions of the Roman Empire .. this story-line might have stuck, if approached in a more time-line-based orderly, kindly manner since the melting-pot of differing cultures and armies already confuses the whole set-up .
* * * * * DANGER ! DANGER ! WILL ROBINSON ! * * * * *
( QUESTIONS ) the 800-strong Roman legion horse-riders are about to attack the monolithic Chinese Wild-Geese Gate . but How ? would they. without any siege weapons ? Oh, they act as if retreating, as soon as the first arrows are shot from the fortress ! and the Chinese, well-protected in it are dumb enough : to come riding-out of this protectorate, in pursuit ??? but this is a movie so behold : massive sand-storm interrupts just-in-time, and this is where camaraderie between opposing cultures begins, between two leaders – again coincidentally : each framed by their own sector’s competitor .
[ MAIN CHARACTERS ] big short-comings on this aspect as the Roman boy-prince has no character, Jackie Chan is too familiar on comedies that to herald this mighty land : feels awkward and John Cusack – well-acquainted with drama-movie fans – is too cute to be an out-cast, tough Roman general – although should be credited for looking-great in a Roman legion outfit . Adrien Brody who has done modern assault action in Predators 2010, might have made it here, if he didn’t act and walk like he won almighty general-ship on a poker game -_- but thank all the Gods, warriors and merchants who have protected the Silk Road long~ before DHL, bullet trains and jumbo jets : French Laure Pester as the righteous Persian Queen comes to save the character players in the end .
although there are quite-bloody scenes : both sides of clashing army are too neat and cute to make this a (How I would dare think or compare this now, and here) Ben-Hur-scale spectacle . how-ever the eventual ending-scene where the Roman legion ride side-by-side with the Chinese army, should be educational viewing for United Nations over the Third Millennium .
over-all, pity this could have been an epic if done differently, but I thank its creator Daniel Lee for returning us to a fantastic age when inter-cultural trade through treacherous deserts flourished, eventually giving way to sea-faring adventures, Christie’s and eBay Auctions //
( Epilog ) as a person constantly involved in international trade : I am obsessed with this Silk Road, Orient Express and even Route 66 . but a pity since it can only be read in records, as no photo nor painting depicting the whole scene exist, more-over since it was not any single-lined route . thus modern efforts like this to resurrect at least a margin of past reality – even though not widely popular – sparks recurring imagination of a once-incredible concept .
[ SILK ROAD TRAVEL LINKS ]
- China’s Silk Road photography by Per-Anders Pettersson ☞LiNK.
- The Silk Road – Moscow to Beijing on Golden Eagle Luxury Trains ☞LiNK.
- Ultimate China Travel Guide to Silk Road ☞LiNK.
– Ah, Anthony and Cleopatra, Korea Expat BLog –