Warrior Lanling

on September 01, 1995 by Ed Scheid
   Lanling (Lorenzo Callender) is a warrior with an unusual problem: The leader of an opposing army refuses to fight against his forces because he thinks Lanling has a woman's face. The disgraced warrior puts on a mask that hides his features and makes him fierce in battle. The mask, which cannot be removed, causes Lanling to be violent and dangerous even to the woman who loves him ("Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker's" Ning Jing).
   The film imaginatively creates an ancient Chinese culture that is dominated by females and led by Lanling's mother (Yang Liping). Director Sherwood Hu devises a new language for the characters and shows a talent for filming vigorous battles and elaborate outdoor images laced with smoke. However, the settings dominate the characters, who are one-dimensional, and the director goes overboard in staging extravagant rituals and dances, which are done with so much theatricality and seriousness that the film often turns into unintentional parody.    Starring Lorenzo Callender, Ning Jing and Yang Liping. Directed by Sherwood Hu. Written by Sherwood Hu and Wang Peigong. Produced by Zheng Kainan. No distributor set. Drama. Chinese-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 95 min.
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