It's good to see this kind of fast-paced martial arts cinema being revived.
The good stuff
A slice of tactical warfare that, at least to me, is a lot more challenging and interesting to follow. The climax is both exciting and emotional, the ending is smart and a small punch in the gut.
A good indication of Lee's talent that would signal a fruitful career. A film with character, sadly the drama can get a little excessive, but otherwise I haven't anything bad to say about this one. It may deviate a little too much from the norm for those expecting a basic martial arts film, but that's hardly a negative.
The plot is simple and feels like it was taken right out of a Shaw Bros production. Lee takes it a little too serious though, especially near the middle of the film, which slows things down unnecessarily. Luckily the fights look pretty cool. The editing and visual flourish may detract from the action a little, but it's all very cinematic. It reminded me a little of Ashes of Time, though I actually preferred the use of color here.
What Price Survival is the start of an impressive oeuvre, it's a shame Lee's latest films haven't been really up to par. If you're in the mood for some solid Hong Kong action, this one comes warmly recommended.
Worthy but flawed
At times a decent blockbuster, but some scenes are so sentimental and over the top that it's closer to a genre parody than an actual bona fide adventure flick. Daniel Lee has the skills, but he needs to show a little more restraint if he wants to get back on top. This was borderline entertaining, but much more than that.