Qing Shan Hai Tang
2022 / 74m - China
Fantasy, Thriller
The Mystic Nine: Begonia from Qingshan poster


November 21, 2022


Something a bit different. China has been doing quite a few high-profile railroad thrillers in 2022, so it's not a big surprise to see the streamers go for a portion of that success. But The Mystic Nine throws in some extra fantasy elements that make a big difference. I didn't quite expect this going in, thinking I'd be getting more basic genre filler. I wish they'd take chances like this more often.

The Zhang family contracted a strange affliction on one of their tomb-raiding adventures, which makes them extra strong. Lieutenant Zuo wants their power for himself and starts experimenting on them. Qishan is the only one to escape from his clutches, but a decade later they run into each other again. Qishan is out for revenge, Zuo is crafty though and he has the support of the higher-up officials.

The pacing is extremely tight, the action sequences are pretty fun, the CG isn't half bad and it's not overused as much compared to many of its peers. The film relies more on proper cinematography and styling to make an impact. And the fantasy elements help it to stand out from the crowd, making it more than just another thriller. Surprisingly good.