Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In, rumble in the walled city

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Out now in Irish cinemas is Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In. This Chinese film from director Soi Cheang follows the denizens of the infamous walled city Kowloon in the 80s. The film follows refugee Chan Lok-Kwan (Raymond Chan) as he finds a home within the walled city. Along the way, he meets fascinating and eccentric characters that inhabit the orbit of Kowloon. All of these indiduals are tied together intrinsically in a web of betrayal, violence and comradery.

One rare element of a film that can occur is you’ll learn something you’d never learn about unless you saw this film. Until this film, I didn’t know about Kowloon, this “city” was a fascinating anomaly. A city sprung up within an enclave in China and it housed so many people. What Soi Cheang and his cast and crew have done with Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In is place a mythical sheen upon it.

Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In – What’s passed is past

Having Chan Lok-Kwan as the eyes of the audience into Kowloon made for quite the experience. He was a tough character, but watching him take on all these incredible warriors was thrilling. Each had their own distinct style and were full of personality. It was easy to become attached to these characters because the film took the appropriate amount of time to build a rapport between Chan Lok-Kwan and characters like Cyclone (Louis Koo), AV (German Cheung), Shin (Terrance Lau) and Twelfth Master (Tony Wu). Then when the chaos ensues and characters like Mr. Big (Sammo Hung) and King (Philip Ng) cause problems you genuinely care for the denizens of Kowloon.

The set design for the film was impeccable, there was gunge and grime to it that made the film feel authentic to the period. It also made for brilliant and bonkers action set pieces. Every fight scene in Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In is stellar. A particular highlight wasn’t a fight but a character. Whenever King was in a fight scene I was blown away by the skill on show.

If there were any issues with the film, I did feel there were one or two elements within the plot itself that weren’t developed enough. Not only that a third-act element comes in and radically changes the understanding of some of the characters. If it had been explained better or developed earlier in the film I would have been more onboard.

Nevertheless, Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In is an absolutely brilliant and bonkers film. It puts a spotlight on a specific place during a specific time and makes it a fable. This highlights the power of its people and makes it something you want to learn. It’s a compelling and impressive feat and I love the whole team behind the film for doing it.

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