Butterfly Lovers (2008)
I can't review this film properly because I fast-forwarded through most of it, though that arguably tells you all you need to know. Part of the problem, though, may be the complete misrepresentation of it by UK distributor Metrodome... a new title 'The Assassin's Blade' and cover art implying armies and massive battles put me in the mood for one type of film, whilst the disc inside contains something completely different - yet another retelling of the 'Butterfly Lovers' story of star-crossed lovers featuring Charlene Choi, who once more apparently decides her natural cuteness is enough that she doesn't even have to bother trying to act, and a couple of totally uncharismatic male leads.
From the little I bothered to watch, nothing inspired me to believe I was going to enjoy it nearly as much as Tsui Hark's wonderful version, or Li Han-Hsiang's classic 'Love Eterne'. I did occasionally drop the film back to normal speed, and nothing I saw then convinced me that the fast forward button was a mistake.
The promo blurb compounds the license taken with the title and artwork by claiming the film contains "some of the most stunning martial arts fighting ever seen on film". No, it doesn't... it features a couple of scenes of clearly unskilled people waving weapons around at each other - though an appearance from the actually skilled Fan Siu Wong does bring one scene to some sort of life. Not nearly enough to justify the expectation of the martial arts classic the distributors apparently thought they'd bought the rights to, though.
It's possible I'd have watched - maybe, just maybe, even enjoyed - the film if I'd gone in with appropriate expectations. A fluffy, cute Charlene-Choi filled retelling of Butterfly Lovers with a couple of unspectacular fight scenes might have been what I was in the mood for. If I was in such a mood, then the packaging of 'Assassin's Blade' would have led me to believe it would not fulfil my unambitious desires of the moment though, and I'd have watched something else - so through their promotional decisions, Metrodome pretty much guaranteed that I wouldn't enjoy their product (or buy it - yay for rentals). Kind of dumb.