Avoided this for months but finally broke down and watched this evening....should have avoided longer. The film has a total disrespect for the first entry with poor production values (comparatively) , and English language soundtrack and scripting that is just awful. Even the fight choreography is substandard save an ice battle late in the film which is of note. This is spitting in the face of the original artisans.
I asked myself: if this was merely a new Yuen Woo-ping film titled "Sword of Destiny," starring Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen, how would I rate it? The truth is, "Sword" is a serviceable (if unremarkable) martial arts drama. It's just a shame that the pseudo-sequel to one of the most beautiful and poetic films of the last 16 years feels like a lesser "Game of Thrones" episode dressed up in wuxia clothing.
Curiously inert. You can feel the film strain to hit similar narrative beats to the original, but it lacks the aching romanticism, visual elegance and tragic heft. It also shows the difference between a choreographer and a true director. Yuen creates kinetic movements, but they're flat and proscriptive without the tasteful visual storytelling and attentive eye towards the totality of a sequence.
It is not a bad film on its own. Unfortunately, it emerged after that great film. The Ang Lee film was something else – the high point of the genre. Nobody could replicate it. I did not care about it much. First because, it is in English. I would have preferred to see the film in subtitles. Second, the characters fail to stand up and be themselves – except Michelle Yeo.
Utterly disappointing. Egregious slo-mo and CG are repulsive in comparison to the perfect magic-realism of Ang Lee's original. Cartoony and comic-book-movie shots, characters, and choreography may fit contemporary wuxia movies, but do an abhorrent disservice to a CT,HD sequel. The Snow Vase/Wei-Fang story could have worked with a different Wei-Fang and less everything else, but everything else sucked so...fuck it.