It’s a Friday, I’m on leave and bored out of my wits. Can’t wait to get out of the Klang Valley. To pass the time, I caught Kinta @ GSC MidValley (Kinta 1881’s official site but that’s pretty much dead). To the uninitiated, Kinta is Malaysia’s first chinese martial arts action movie. You can also read more about the production on Kinta 1881’s official blog. It was supposed to be released in November 2007 but after a year long delay, it was finally released to the silver screen on 4 December 2008.
The movie is set in the Kinta Valley in the 1880s, when tin ore was discovered in the area and Chinese immigrants flooded the valley in the hope of making their fortunes. It revolves around four kung fu ‘brothers’, Dragon, Tiger, Blaze and… I can’t remember the last fella’s name. The four of them work in the tin mines under the supervision of Tin Sok (Tin uncle. lol!).
In this time of hardship, they are betrayed by the mine’s owner, Master Hoong, who sends his henchment to kill all the mine’s workers. From that point forward, the rest of the story is about survival and revenge. Sure there’s a some side stories told in the form of flashbacks to add depth to the characters but those are really incidental. The movie is all about the martial arts; nothing more, nothing less. If you plan on watching the movie for any other reason, you’ll be gravely disappointed.
Quite frankly, the editing could have been a whole lot better. The movie is supposed to be 92 minutes long. One quarter of that is in fact the same scenes repeated at different times. The entire length of the show is intersperced with flash backs. It was so frequent and badly done that viewers will be confused half the time whether the scene on screen is part of the main time line or just another flash back.
To the movie’s credit, the action choreography and martial arts fight scenes were excellent. Most of the fight scenes was done in black and white with comic style blood painted in ala the movie 300. The action choreography was supervised by Hong Kong actor-stuntman Chin Kar Lok. The fight scenes, by the way, are very real.
To support this grand fight fest, the movie features a string of big names in the field of chinese martial arts. Local martial artistes include Michael Chin, Kuan Fei, Robin Ho, and Shawn Lee. There’s also David Bao, a tai chi grand master hailing from China. Mark Cheng also makes a special guest appearance (much to the confusion of the evil henchment and movie goers. You’ll have to watch to find out. lol).
I have mixed feelings about this movie. While the plot, acting, editing (and basically nearly everything about the movie) was bad, the fights were very well done! I recommend this movie if you’re a big fan of Wushu. You should also watch the movie in support of local productions :) Just don’t go into the cinema expecting too much.