2021 / 85m - China
Mystery, Fantasy
Kirin Mirage Town poster


February 24, 2021


Modern Chinese TV productions have reached that somewhat troublesome level of quality where they manage to be cinematic, but not consistently so. These films are mass-produced and while some are definitely worth a shot, you won't find any true masterpieces there. It is pleasant genre filler, sometimes showing a glimpse of wanting to be something more, but never quite realizing that potential.

Kirin Mirage Town is another one of these films. A crime/mystery story nested within a historic fantasy setting, alternating between competent and atmospheric on the one hand, cheap and flimsy on the other. Its TV roots are always apparent, but there are moments where the film goes beyond.

The first half is pretty basic, introducing two characters who can't really get along, but are still inexplicably attracted to each other, and who need each other to solve a murder case. Once they travel to the fantasy realm things gets a bit more interesting, though the less than stellar CG makes sure you won't ever mistake this for big screen production. I wish I'd get a better grip on this niche, but with an ever-changing roster of directors and a endless string of films that resemble each other just a bit too much, it's almost impossible to makes sense of it when you don't speak Chinese. For now, I'll limit myself to sampling what looks interesting. So far that has yielded some solid films, but nothing truly spectacular yet.