Legendary Amazons is a historical epic from director Frankie Chan, backed with the star power of Jackie Chan. Unfortunately, this time out Jackie isn't acting; rather, he is filling the role of producer. Something tells me the movie would have been better had Jackie's mug appeared onscreen instead of just the credits. You see, the movie provides some moments of entertainment, but for the most part feels flat and lifeless.
The movie follows in the footsteps of other recent epics like White Vengeance and South Korean export War of the Arrows. What makes Legendary Amazons stand out is that it takes a much looser approach to the actual history behind it. The movie is a bit over the top and melodramatic than its much more strait laced brethren. In some ways this is a breath of fresh air, but more often than not it just feels silly.
Legendary Amazons follows in the footsteps of the 1972 Shaw Brothers production 14 Amazons. The Song Dynasty is at war with the Western Xia. The war is fierce and results in the devastating loss of all of the men. This does not bode well for the future of the Song Dynasty.
The women, now widows, learn of their loss by the arrival of a messenger pigeon bearing a lock of hair of the army's general, Yang Zongbao (Richie Ren). The message was received by his wife Mui Guiying (Cecelia Cheung). Rather than fold up camp and give up, she and the family matriarch, She Saihua (Cheng Pei-pei), choose to start up a new army comprised of the widows.
So, with the leadership of the last remaining man, Yang Wenguang (Xiao Ming Yu), the women head off for battle. They fight for their lives; they fight to fend off their enemies, and they fight to get revenge. It is too bad the movie is played bigger and broader than it likely should be.
Legendary Amazons, on paper, looks like it should be a winner. The cast has numerous veterans; the director has made good films in the past, and the real life story seems perfect for the big screen. It is hard for me to really say where it went wrong. I mean, it is not completely unwatchable, but it feels like they were not completely sure of how to approach the story. On top of that, the production quality is not all that great and is filled with sequences of poor green screen work.