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A Fairy Tale 2

2021 / 82m - China
Fantasy, Action
A Fairy Tale 2 poster

Wang Cong's sequel. Though like with most of these films, you have to question the real meaning of a sequel. It could've been released under any other name and most people probably wouldn't have made the connection. A Fairy Tale 2 is the umpteenth human vs demons realms fantasy/action streamer flick, the kind that's been swamping Chinese streaming services for a few years now.

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The Purple Heaven clan (humans) is at war with the Black Mountain clan (demons). The Purple Heavens managed to capture the bride of the leader of the Black Mountains and plan to use her to stop the war between the two worlds. Not everyone in the Purple Heavens clan agrees with this and their leader has his work cut out for him.

What more is there to say about films like these at this point? The costumes and sets are pretty cool, the pacing and runtime are perfect and the action is solid. The stories are simple cut-and-paste jobs though and the CG is pretty atrocious. It's decent genre fun for those who love Chinese fantasy films, but that's where the appeal of this film ends.

A Fairy Tale

2020 / 82m - China
Fantasy, Action
A Fairy Tale poster

The Chinese streamers' take on A Chinese Ghost Story. This late-80s classic film series stands as a milestone in fantasy/martial arts Hong Kong cinema, so it's really no surprise we're getting a Mainland China update. The streamers are thirsty for anything fantasy-related, an existing franchise comes with a built-in audience, so there's really no risk involved.

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A virtuous warrior once separated the human from the demon kingdom. He reincarnates as a young teacher, who takes up his job in a small temple. When he runs into a female demon one day, he falls for her charms, and unaware of his past, he wants to protect her from harm. This way, he puts himself in the spotlight again, and pretty soon other demons are out to get him.

If they'd really make an effort, these films could probably match the quality of their Hong Kong counterparts. But the reliance on shoddy CG and cringe comedy make it hard to fully appreciate them. The sets and cinematography are plenty nice and the pacing is perfect, it's just that extra level of polish that is missing. Good filler though.