Film Review: The Taking of Tiger Mountain

Article by Alison Ng

The Taking of Tiger Mountain, directed by Tsui Hark, is a thrilling action movie that has all the classic elements of a great story: a hero, a villain, and a heart-racing battle.

The movie begins in present day New York, as Jimmy (Han Geng) celebrates his leave to a new life and a new job in Silicon Valley. During the karaoke party, a scene on TV introduces the audience to 1946 China and a group of the Communist People’s Liberation Army through a flashback. The squad’s goal is to fight, and ultimately end, the bandits that terrorize and steal from villages.

The bandits are lead by Lord Hawk (Tony Leung Ka-fai), a ruthless boss that has built up bandit numbers and plans to take over northeast China. The Army’s commander, Shao Jianbo, known as “203” (Lin Gengxin), struggles to find a way to defeat the bandits with small numbers and little time. With this, enters Yang Zirong (Zhang Hanyu). At first, Jianbo/203 is wary of Zirong, but his mind changes when Zirong offers to become a bandit of Lord Hawk’s in order to work undercover as a spy for the Army.

The greater part of the movie follows Zirong as he narrowly weaves himself into bandit life and expectation. Many times, he is forced to prove himself loyal, and always at a cost. Every moment, every step he takes is exciting and nerve-wracking; the audience desperately wants him to succeed but is wondering how he has made it so far into his plan.

The Audience will not only enjoy the action and the suspense, but also the characters. There is a strong sense of family and care throughout the Army in addition to their intense determination to defeat the bandits. There are notable character developments, that the audience can appreciate and relate to. While the movie is mostly made up of a male cast, a highlight of the movie is the nurse Little Dove (Tong Liya) the strong female character who shows love and care, but also fights alongside the Army. At one point, she stands up to the Commander and becomes a part of the team.

But with every movie, there are flaws. In China, The Taking of Tiger Mountain has 3D effects; unfortunately the US is shown the 2D version, which leaves the screen with not-as-polished animations. In addition, the movie is confusing, due to the fact that the movie begins with Jimmy, but does not resolve his story until the end.

Overall, with heart-racing moments and relatable characters, The Taking of Tiger Mountain is a good story to engage yourself in.

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