Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Review: Kingdom

Release date: August 16, 2019
Running time: 134 minutes
Starring:  Kento Yamazaki, RyĆ“ Yoshizawa, Masami Nagasawa

Kingdom is set in ancient China before it had become a unified nation.  Two slave boys become like brothers, both trying to train and make each other stronger, with the goal of becoming the greatest generals of all time.  The two grow together, until their dreams are cut short and one is whisked away to the royal castle after getting a once in a lifetime opportunity.  However, a chance encounter later will make the other train to become even stronger and try to fulfill his dream. 

Kingdom bills itself as a historical war drama but it really seems to be loosely based on history.  It really feels like a live action anime, with a Japanese-style take on ancient Chinese history, complete with larger than life personalities, climactic battles, and a lot more expression and drama than you would expect.  However, this is all endearing with this film.  There is a large, varied cast of characters to meet, and each has a different and interesting personality.  It is how this ragtag group interacts that makes it so fun.  Kingdom really does feel like an adventure rather than a historical film, which is fine.  It takes some liberties with the story but does so to make a historical film into a fantasy type adventure movie.

Kingdom has a lot of warriors throughout, and a lot of fighting.  Luckily the fights are well choreographed.  They are over the top, as you would expect from martial arts films, but the choreography is tight and the the fighting is intense.  Additionally, the costumes and sets are fun and varied.  You see a several different locales as well as a diverse group of warriors from these areas.  If there is a downside to this film, it is that the CG is a little pronounced in places.  And, although the movie is kind of based on a real story, it really feels like it falls in the inspired by camp.  However, don't let these minor complaints dissuade you from a fun adventure with good action.

Kingdom feels like a live action anime, with an interesting cast of characters, good fight choreography, and a fun adventure that will showcase a variety of styles and locales.  

Watch it.

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