(This is the Hidden Man film review, which is a 2018 Chinese Artistic drama film that is set in the period just before the Sino-Japanese War)
This film is considered to the third in the trilogy that is directed by Jiang Wen, who has directed the previous two films Let the Bullets Fly and Gone with the Bullets. Although it’s been called the third part of the trilogy, it has almost no connection to the previous two films, with only the period setting being the similar point. It is based on the wuxia novel Xia Yin by Zhang Beihai. This time, the main star is the famous rising star Eddie Peng, as well as Jiang Wen, Liao Fan, and Zhou Yun. With the previous two films having been a hit in China, could this be the third time the charm for the trilogy? Read on the Hidden Man film review below to find out!
A young man, Li Tian Ran, returns to China as an avenger for an event that happened 15 years ago that caused the death of his master and his family. The murder case is strangely altered to make him the culprit. With a hatred that has been built up for over a decade, Li Tian Ran has to find ways to get revenge while meeting new allies and enemies alike in the period where the war with Japanese is about to break out. Could he complete it successfully?
Hidden Man Film Review
Man, this is one hell of a long movie, almost 2.5 hours, and it knows how to take its time to introduce the setting and the characters. With that said, the premise itself is quite simple and is basically about Li Tian Ran getting his revenge. What makes it more interesting is the fact that his existence and training to be an assassin has been part of a plan by a Chinese mastermind that plans to use him to defeat the incoming Japanese. Some of the premises are not as easily predictable and there are some small twists that keep things fresh, unlike the typical Chinese historical drama that follows a certain formula. Pacing wise it’s a mixed bag, as the beginning and the end are really tightly paced, with the introduction of new nemesis, allies, and some in-betweens. However, the middle portion starts to drag a bit as the film shows it’s artistic directing with slow music and lots of quiet scenes among the characters.
The characters themselves are actually pretty varied and some are such a fine addition to the story. I like the American doctor role that actually plays a huge part at the beginning and the middle part of the film. His existence in a Chinese historical film is quite rare, and it makes the film seems pretty fresh with the introduction of such characters. The main character, however, is actually less interesting than the side characters sadly, as he seems to always be confused and follows orders too easily. I like the Chinese mastermind as well as the Seamstress, as they represent two different sides of the same coin in terms of ideals. The antagonists are just decent, which make use of the cliché Japanese officer and a Chinese traitor. Lastly, the soundtrack is pretty weird as it employs mostly classical Italian opera music instead of the communist themed or using Chinese melody. This is perhaps the biggest part that makes it different and artistic, as it weirdly fits the premie and the time period as well.