Ashes of Time

Director: Wong Kar-Wai
Year Released: 1994
Rating: 1.5

The only thing that kept me from turning off this schizo-mess is the fact that I respect Wong's work and was hoping he'd pull some sort of miracle and tie all these pieces together - there are multiple characters (who I couldn't keep straight) and they all seem to be lost in their own stories - but by the end, little is clarified. The mixture of rapid sword fighting and voice-over philosophizing don't mix, and the result is mostly pretentious (sticking to one or the other might be best - consider Tsui Hark's awesome Zu, which is content with being just an action film) and without the romantic overtones that make his best films so miraculous. A certain amount of dislike for it arises from the horrible print I saw, which inexplicably cuts off at least a third of the screen with a gray block - if ever a fresh, untainted version is released I will seek it out.