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Monday, 29 September 2014

Movie Review: Outcast (2014)

Movie Review: Outcast (2014)
(For summarized review, please visit: http://www.wljack.com/2014/09/movie-review-outcast-2014.html)

Introduction:


A Moorish town is about to fall during the Crusades. Gallain, one of the Crusaders and mentor of the commander Jacob says that he is tired of war and killing the innocents. He wants to go to East and he tells Jacob that the soldies will not spare the people who are innocent. Jacob disagrees with him and eventually he realizes he’s wrong. He feels that he should have listened to Gallain’s advice.

The story proceeds to the setting in China. There’s a change of power whereby Prince Shing has killed his father in order to become the emperor. He’s hunting down his younger brother, Prince Zhao who has taken the imperial seal. His younger brother is the real chosen heir. Prince Zhao and his sister, Princess Lian are trying to run away from Prince Shing’s forces. They have teamed up with Jacob who appears in China. They have also get help from a mysterious person known as the “White Ghost”!

Why is Jacob in China?

Who is the “White Ghost”?

Will Prince Zhao be able to retrieve back the empire to his hands?

Let’s find out the nearest cinema now!


Review:
Directed by Nick Powell, the movie “Outcast” takes place mainly in China with westernized elements. It has featured casts such as Hayden Christensen, Nicolas Cage, Liu Yifei, Andy On and etc.

The plot of the movie is very straight forward involving the villain trying to take over the throne of the empire. Those who always watch ancient China movies will feel the familiarity with this theme.

However, Outcast has added in some twist to the movie with westernized elements into it. Thus, this creates something fresh to the scenes in ancient china. It is something different of course but if you are someone who is very particular with history, it could appear a little bit absurd.

In fact, you can’t even recognize the era on which the film is set in. Since when do you see western people, Indians, Negro and etc in an ancient China? Most cheesy part is, all of the people in the ancient china of this film could actually understand and converse well in English. But of course, if you view the movie in a more fiction way than the historian way, you can get away from all these uneasiness and can enjoy the movie more!


The pacing of the movie on the other hand is quite balanced. There are some slowdown moments which involve flashbacks and conversations though but they are very brief and function decently enough as the transitions between the more engaging scenes.

As for the acting aspect, Hayden Christensen is actually not bad in depicting the character who changes from a very proud person into someone who is in guilt for his mistakes. In my opinion, he has delivered his role very well. Nicholas Cage on the other hand has very minimal amount of screenplay time. In fact, his appearance in the movie felt more like a cameo appearance to me. But of course, he is definitely good in acting and has played convincing enough as the mentor for Hayden Christensen’s character. Besides these two, most of the other cast members’ performances are so-so and some of them even have woody expressions that no one could comprehend.

As for the scripts, it can be a ridiculous and lackluster at times. Sometimes, the characters can speak something in a very cool manner but all of the words they speak are actually not as brilliant as they appear to be.

The movie might has its own flaws but it has its good points too. Personally, I love the sceneries shot in the movie. Some of these are really visually stunning. Besides this, the movie also has quite a number of action scenes. I think the action choreograph is good enough to entertain the audiences. I wish there are more scenes involving Andy On in action though because he usually does many cool stunts in his previous films.  As for the background music, it matches well with the scenes although there are not much instrumental emphasis on the ancient China setting. Either way, I enjoy the scores in this film.


What I like about the movie:

  1. Balanced pacing with brief slowdown moments
  2. Great acting by Hayden Christensen & Nicholas Cage.
  3. Beautiful sceneries.
  4. Decent amount of actions.
  5. Good background scores.

What I dislike about the movie:
  1. Excessive twist of ancient china setting.
  2. Familiar plot.
  3.  Poor acting by most of the other casts.
  4. Not-so brilliant scripts.



Verdict:
This movie deserves a 6.0/10.0!


“If you can accept the twisted and westernized ancient China, you will enjoy the movie better! Besides, the film has some good action sequences and breathtaking sceneries!” –WLJack

“It will be more logical if the chinese can speak mandarin in the film, I don’t mind watching the movie with English subtitles.” – Fellow reviewer, Brian Chong Yi Yong

Recommended for those who don’t have much experience in watching ancient China movie and curious to see how it would look like if ancient China is being westernized!

However, for those who are very particular with history and logical plot, this is definitely not a movie for you!


Million thanks to RAM Entertainment for the invitation to the premiere screening of “Outcast”!

Published by WLJack.

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