Trinity CineAsia brings much anticipated Hong Kong nostalgic film to UK and Ireland audience.

★★★★★ 5/5

Cheang’s “Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In” is an adaptation of the Andy Seto manhua “City of Darkness”. The name was the term given by locals to describe the Walled City – “Hak Nam”.

The city’s destructively created architecture is the perfect playground for Sammo Hung to mastermind action sequences within a confined space. The actors had spent a year preparing for the action scenes and its evident with the fluid choreography. Louis Koo catching a cigarette mid air roll was a sight to behold.

Bear in mind, Louis Koo was set to be in this film almost 20 years ago when talks of a project helmed by both John Woo and Johnnie To started. Nicholas Cage was rumoured to make a special appearance!

After those talks fell through, it took until 2013 for a proposed “Dragon City”, directed by Derek Kwok and starring Donnie Yen, which also didn’t get through production hell.

Finally, the project found its legs in 2021, being helmed by Soi Cheang, and had wrapped filming in 2022.

The wait was well worth it.

I recommend Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In for fans of Hong Kong martial arts films, those interested in the history of the Kawloon Walled City, and by extension fans of the Cyberpunk genre.

I would further recommend Greg Girard’s book, “City of Darkness”, which serves as an illuminating record of life in the walled city.

 

“Twilight of the Warriors: Walled in” – A reference point for future Cyberpunk works

Whilst vastly different thematically and narratively, Blade Runner would be a fascinating double bill. Whilst Blade Runner imposes the principles of the self-regulating anarchy into a technocratic future, Twilight of the Warriors is a retrospective ode to a time and place and attempts to convey a triad story through the immigrant experience with scatterings of supernatural elements.

Lok Kwan uncertain status as a resident of Hong Kong even parallels the superfluous nature of identity that Blade Runner explores, albeit in a more explicit manner.

With Blade Runner 2099 in the works, the series should take inspiration from Cheang’s interpretation of the Walled City. The most authentic manner in which to progress the Blade Runner cannon is to revisit the social and physical structure that underpinned the envisioned future. Aesthetic learnings include the use of umbrellas to protect against falling debris or stores making plastic flowers due to it being harder to plant real ones.

Philosophical learnings require an active synthesis. Ridley Scott’s technological reality is an abstraction of his inherent worldview shaped by western empiricism. Whilst the supernatural qualities imbued by Cheang derive from a wholly different cognisance – one that allows for a character to control his body density through Chi – a composition that takes into account both perspectives would mark a fundamental shift in Cyberpunk.

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