films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Dragon Palace Female Assassin

2019 / 77m - China
Fantasy, Thriller
Dragon Palace Female Assassin poster

Something just a little different. Don't expect anything too out of the ordinary though, this is a typical Chinese streamer in just about every way, except that the plot and genre balance wasn't quite as predictable as most of its peers. It offers a nice variation on the many tomb raider and fox spirit films that have been flooding this niche.

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Eunuchs are battling for power in ancient China. The emperor is locked in an underwater stronghold that doubles as a prison. Shi Qi is sent to infiltrate the structure in an attempt to get to the emperor. She lets herself get caught and is taken to the underwater prison. From there on out, she'll have to improvise to complete her mission.

The presentation is pretty decent, the lack of unnecessary CG is probably the nicest surprise (what's there is still subpar, but at least it is mostly functional). It's fun to see a more thriller-based execution for a change, though in the end, the impact is relatively minor. Dragon Palace Female Assassin ended up better than expected, then again, my expectations are pretty limited for these types of films.

The Legend of the Charming Fox

2019 / 78m - China
Fantasy, Action
The Legend of the Charming Fox poster

Another fox spirit tale. It seems Asian folklore is littered with them, and the Chinese streamers are happy enough to adapt them to the screen. These are pretty simple stories with enough potential to work in all the necessary genre elements to make entertaining filler, so it's obvious why they are so popular. There's a solid fantasy foundation, rounded out with a little romance, action, and comedy.

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White Lotus is a fox spirit who wants to find the man who rescued her as a young cub. What she doesn't know is that he's a monster hunter. She finally tracks him down, but in order to get close to him she has to join his monster hunter community. Meanwhile, a fire spirit is targeting them to get the magic water bead that can turn him back to his old self.

This film is only 3 years old but in terms of Chinese streamer films that makes quite a difference. The sets and costumes are lush as always, and the cinematography is nice too, but the CG is terrible and the performances feel flimsy. It's a short and well-paced little genre film that delivers the goods, it's just that nowadays they do a better job with this type of material.