Fantasia : The Descent and Seven Swords

The Descent is probably the first British movie I've seen at Fantasia (shame on me for missing Shaun of the Dead). It's tough to review a movie that so perfectly achieve what it sets out to do, that any review will only match the cover description of it. The movie is edge-of-your-seat, it is claustrophobic, and it is scary as hell. It is gory enough, but not overly. It's incredibly effective; the characters, all women, are believable, as it is true that some people are insane enough to go into caves like that, believe it or not. Acting is pretty good. Overall a very entertaining and scary film. 7.5 out of 10, with a butt-factor of 0.5.

Seven Swords is from the legendary director Tsui Hark, of Chinese Ghost Story fame. I had reservations about this movie, as my last exposition to his work with Vampire Hunter had left me rather cold and only slightly amused. Seven Swords disappoints. The story is confused and hard to follow, the characters are vague and not so well defined. There are many cool and interesting concept, but they're brought in clumsily and usually in a rush. The movie suffers from being too long, and at the same time, not long enough. The film would have benefited from being a TV series, with enough time to introduce the characters in a slower, more approachable fashion, while at the same time giving us a pause between episodes to assimilate everything they're trying to say. Although the good guys feel pretty generic in general, the bad guys, especially the general Fire-Wind and his female officer (whose character design is absolutely splendid) are especially effective. The fights are sometimes confusing and not always well-paced, but there are a few very effective sword fights, like the one in a very narrow corridor, this battle starts out horizontal but quickly escalates to a uniquely styled vertical fight. I give this movie a 5.5 out of 10, with a butt-factor of 1.5.

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