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Review: White Vengeance (2011)

Directed by: Daniel Lee | 133 minutes | drama | Actors: Shaofeng Feng, Leon Lai, Hanyu Zhang, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Yifei Liu, Jordan Chan, Andy On, Qing Xiu, Haifeng Ding, Xiang Dong Xu, Chen Zhi Hui, Kuan Tai Chen, Huinan Zhao,

With “White Vengeance” we are again dealing with a great spectacle from the East, but this time the film has a different approach. “White Vengeance” by director Daniel Lee (“14 Blades”) does not focus on the actual of the huge battles, which are supposed to be there, but on the tactical side of warfare.

The Qin Dynasty is no longer what it used to be. More and more people are revolting and the country is quickly overrun by chaos. The two leaders of the rebel army, Liu Bang (Leon Lai) and Xiang Yu (Shaofeng Feng), fight under the service of King Huai to free the country from tyranny. Threatened by the power of his two generals, King Huai decides to play both leaders of the rebel army against each other.

The battle between Liu Bang and Xiang Yu is mainly dominated by two philosophers who assist the rebel leaders. On the side of Liu Bang, this is Zhang Liang (Hanyu Zhang) and on the side of Xiang Yu counselor Fan Zheng (Anthony Wong). This intellectual and tactical battle comes into its own in a number of GO games between the two. With sharp camera work, exciting and philosophical texts, the game GO comes to life. It makes these scenes an impressive and exciting affair. The actors and Anthony Wong (“Infernal Affairs”) are also very important for such scenes, they know how to hit the right chord and thus provide “White Vengeance” with an extra dimension.

For the viewer, however, the tactical approach of “White Vengeance” also has a disadvantage. There are so many plot twists that it is sometimes hard to keep up. Actually, these plot twists and the slightly too long playing time are a bit too much of a good thing and as a viewer you slowly get the feeling that you know it all and have seen it before in the film. When “White Vengeance” seems to be over, new scenes follow again and again that stretch the story further, but where the attention falls.

“White Vengeance” focuses in a good way on the tactical aspect of warfare, but because of all the twists and turns of the story, it goes just a bit too far. This does not detract from the fact that the looks away and especially breathes new life into the game GO.

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