films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


The Captives

Yi Xing Ji Sheng: Qi Yuan
2024 / 74m - China
The Captives poster

A fun film held back by poor CG (and practical effects). While their fantasy output is getting better, the lack of experience in sci-fi is posing a problem for Chinese streamers. There are many positives here, but the lackluster creature design and their flimsy realization get in the way of the enjoyment.

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A weird intergalactic bug is trying to invade Earth. Humanity fought them off once, but they returned with a new plan. They want to fuse with humans in order to stand a better chance of taking over the planet. It's a new challenge for Jin Shanya and her team, who try to eradicate the queen.

The cinematography and editing are cool, and so are the sets. The film is short and well-paced, The Captives is overflowing with genre elements and there are definitely moments of greatness here. But consistency is a problem and whenever the aliens appear it's like looking at a dated videogame.

Tears of No Regret

2020 / 70m - China
Tears of No Regret poster

Another Monkey King/Journey to the West adaptation, but of the B-grade fantasy kind that is currently flooding the Chinese market. Demand is bigger than what the big studios can offer, so smaller production houses are cranking out these films at breakneck speed. It's a bit of a minefield, quality-wise, but from time to time you can find a gem in the rough.

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Tears of no Regret has so much CG it's practically an animated film. The actors are real humans, but they spend most of the time in CG-generated backgrounds, performing CG-assisted tricks. At least the art design is pretty interesting, very colorful, rather lush and well over the top. The CG isn't perfect, but aesthetically it's pretty cool.

The rest of the film isn't up to par though. Performances are flaky, the story feels incredibly rushed (then again, the film is only 70 minutes long) and there are some musical interludes that are completely out of place. Not a great film, but it was interesting enough to keep me entertained for as long as it lasted.