Lu Chuan's CHRONICLES OF THE GHOSTLY TRIBE
Movie review by Dennis D McDonald
CHRONICLES OF THE GHOSTLY TRIBE is a gorgeously produced piece of fluff constructed from a delightfully retro mix of mysticism, archaeology, ancient civilizations, alien beasts, and gorgeous Chinese scenery. Serious it ain't, but if you loved H. Rider Haggard's SHE and KING SOLOMON'S MINES when you were a kid you might enjoy it. I certainly did.
An added attraction is that the movie's timeline spans from the late 1960s to the 1980s. We see glimpses of Chinese patriotism and militarism as a backdrop. To this Westerner such views of China's "Cultural Revolution" provide a very different backdrop from more "modern" export-oriented Chinese adventure films. That an Elvis impersonator, representing the decadence of "The West," takes center stage in a key nightclub scene may indicate, though, that we may not be expected to take all this "historical" context too seriously!
Oh yeah, the story. It's all about the search for an interdimensional portal that threatens to open and free alien beasts into our world. Our Hero, naturally, has some sort of mystical connection to ancient ancestors responsible for closing the portal. For the longest time he rejects his "destiny" and is assigned to working in a remote library after the first act's deadly encounter with dark forces. But -- naturally -- there are sinister forces at work that want to take him away from his library and back to the deep-undergound labyrinth that shrouds the ancient portal.
Or some such nonsense. There's nothing here to take seriously. But action scenes are many, the scenery is almost as spectacular as what we saw in The Great Wall, we get to see a lot of camels, and the main characters are familiar archetypes. Special effects are very nicely integrated with live-action, a good example being the gigantic avalanche. English subtitles are serviceable.
If you're looking for a fun and colorful action movie, check it out!
Review copyright (c) 2017 by Dennis D. McDonald