鴻門宴 White Vengeance Preview

Posted by Grey Sunday, December 4, 2011

A new Chinese medieval epic film is currently in the cinema giving a new dramatic take on the famous history of Xiang Yu (項羽) and Liu Bang (劉邦). The Daily Zombies weigh in on White Vengeance 鴻門宴, the latest film by Hong Kong writer-director Daniel Lee (李仁港).

Currently making the rounds at Asian cinemas is White Vengeance, whom Chinese title is immediately recognized as a famous piece of history. Entitled "Hong Men Yan" (鴻門宴, or 鴻門宴傳奇 in some regions), the title of the film is a direct reference to what is known as one of the most famous feasts in history, Feast at Hong Gate.

A landmark historical event that occurred in China circa 205 BC after the destruction of the mighty Qin Dynasty at the hands of Xiang Yu (項羽) and Liu Bang (劉邦), the feast has now became a popular phrase in Chinese idiom as an ostensibly joyous event that is actually treacherous in nature. Serving as the catalyst of the fallout between the two great generals of the post-Qin era, the event as well as the famous rivalry between the two has been captured on the big screen numerous times with 1996's The Great Conqueror's Concubine (西楚霸王, alternatively known as King of Western Chu) being the most notable entry.

Right behind the eventful history of the Three Kingdom era, the history behind the rivalry of Xiang Yu (項羽) and Liu Bang (劉邦) has been a personal interest of us here at The Daily Zombies. However, we were extremely cautious going into this one given the director, Daniel Lee (李仁港)'s recent body of works. 2008's Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (三國之見龍卸甲) is easily the winner of the dubious honor of being the single worst big screen interpretation of the Three Kingdom era (I would have called it the worst cinematic experience I had in 2008 but that would be unfair given the usual quality of my cinematic choice). The director's 2010 effort, 14 Blades (錦衣衛) was nonetheless an improvement, though it is nowhere near its potential for a capable pugilistic epic.

With White Vengeance, Lee has the luxury to tap into the considerable wealth of its mainland China investors for the warring scenes and the huge cast. Early reviews have indicated that the film, despite taking a notable depart from the history it is based on, is pretty much on par with John Woo's Red Cliff. Granted that Woo's Red Cliff ended on an almost unbearable note, the film was relatively efficient in its telling of the battle and we can certainly take in a more fictional take on the famous feast if it is, pardon the pun, tastefully delivered.

Featuring a considerably strong cast, the film stars Leon Lai (黎明) as Liu Bang (劉邦), Feng Shaofeng (冯绍峰) as Xiang Yu (項羽), Liu Yifei (刘亦菲) as Consort Yu (虞姬), Zhang Hanyu (张涵予) as Zhang Liang (张良), Anthony Wong (黄秋生) as Fan Zeng (范增), Jordan Chan (陈小春) as Fan Kuai (樊哙), and Andy On (安志杰) as Han Xin (韩信).

Hit the jump to check out the trailer of the film.



Posters from the film.


















And here are a selection of set stills from the film.
















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