Movie Review: “The Taking Of Tiger Mountain” Is Evocative Of The Bond Movies Of YesterYear

tiger mountain

Review by James McDonald

A story centered around a conflict between a People’s Liberation Army squad and a bandit gang in northeast China during the Chinese revolution.

“The Taking of Tiger Mountain” is based on the novel ‘Tracks in the Snowy Forest’ by Qu Bo. The story is set during the beginning of the War of Liberation in 1946, one year after the Japanese have surrendered and China falls into a full-scale civil war. The movie is about a soldier’s takedown of a group of bandits during the Chinese Civil War. A captain of the Liberation Army, Shao Jianbo (Lin Gengxin), launches a counter-insurgency against as a ruthless bandit who rules the lands of Northeast China from his fortress on Tiger Mountain. Shao sends in skilled investigator Yang Zirong (Zhang Hanyu) to destroy the gang from the inside, all the while, unsure of Yang’s loyalty to the Liberation Army and, in the end, to himself.

Director Tsui Hark, who made the “Once Upon a Time in China” trilogy and the decent Van Damme actioners, “Double Team” and “Knock-Off”, here, constructs an incredible action movie that is evocative of the 1970s James Bond movies, when action pretty much took over the story and you had bad guys who smirked and grimaced every chance they got, just in case you didn’t know who they were and the good guys who stopped at nothing to rid the world of them, all the while shooting and fighting at each other as the massive villain’s lair exploded around them into a million pieces. Mr. Hark makes no apologies that although this is set right after the events of World War II, the movie as a whole is most certainly situated in James Bond territory.

And although Sam Mendes is returning to direct the latest James Bond installment with Daniel Craig, after his previous effort “Skyfall” was the first ever Bond movie to cross the billion dollar mark globally, Tsui Hark would be a great choice to direct any future installments as he is able to bring all the familiar and successful elements that make a Bond movie: humor, action, excitement and plenty of espionage and double-crossing. “The Taking of Tiger Mountain” might be based, in part, on a true story but believe you me, while the outline might be established on reality and real life events, most of the action and unbelievable but impressive set-pieces are 100% fictionalized and so over-the-top, they’ll have you cheering for the good guys. Highly recommended.

In theaters Jan. 2nd

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James McDonald
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