Daniel Lee’s White Vengeance is somewhat of a mixed bag. While the films story is definitely an epic film, it was very much difficult to keep track of everyone properly. Many of the characters names are similar and I felt as though if I knew the history of the Chu-Han Contention a bit better, I’d have a much easier time following this grandiose tale of power and betrayal. Leon Lai plays Liu Bang, a general that is caught up in trying to gain supremacy in Qin Dynasty. His rival, Xiang Yu (Feng Shaofeng) is in a power struggle with him in order to create a new dynasty, as a means to better the people of China. After a few skirmishes here and there, everything leads up to an epic meeting between the two of them at the Hongmen Banquet. Here, they shall both battle with their wits and they’re might in order to prove who shall reign in the next dynasty.
I don’t know if its just me getting older or if the film just had too many people that looked alike, but I had the hardest time trying to keep up with everything for the first 25 minutes of the film. I watch tons of Asian cinema and I’ve never had a problem with keeping up with things, until I saw White Vengeance. While I don’t think that the film was done poorly, to where it wasn’t able to manage to get its story across properly, but in other details. Some of the make up and names of the characters made it a bit difficult to keep track of everything, while not everyone looked the same and plenty of people were distinguishable, the beginning took quite a bit of attention. Either way, once I was able to get a grasp at the key players and the power struggle at hand, I managed to be engrossed in the political intrigue and epic scope that White Vengeance was portraying.
The film does a decent job at portraying the action, whether they be scenes on grand scale or just a one on one battle. The camera work at times gets a bit blurry and moves around a lot, to cover up and make it seem as though there’s much more going on. One of the better action scenes is when Andy On, who plays Han Xin, a member of Xiang Yu’s army, battles against a bunch Liu Bang’s soldier, while holding a cup of wine and drinking from it as the fight progresses. With cool scenes like this one, White Vengeance shows that its got enough chops to move along a political story with an exciting pace and some solid execution.
While its not going to set the world on fire, I really did appreciate Daniel Lee’s White Vengeance. With the film being about a perilous time in China and a big history lesson, its a solid film to grasp an understanding at what made the country up until that point. My only issues where that for some people, it might be too loaded and may confuse some, with its characters and look alikes that can be a bit distracting for one to be able to immerse themselves in this epic tale in the midst of the Chu-Han Contention.