The Golden Cane Warrior (IMDB)
I just finished watching The Golden Cane Warrior on Netflix. It impressed me enough that I wanted to immediately go online and write a review. The movie was released in 2014, and it was made in Indonesia, which I didn't know when I decided to watch it. I have to say, that the quality of martial arts movies that are coming out of Indonesia recently is really high. They're putting American, and most Chinese/Hong Kong movies to shame. Unlike the Raid and The Raid 2, this is a period piece. I'm not familiar enough with Indonesian history to say how it fits into their countries narative.
ActorsAgain, I'm not familiar with Indonesian cinema to say, but Christine Hakim is considered a big name star. She plays the mentor Chempaka. The acting is one of the strong points of the movie. All the parts are played well, and are believable in a kung fu movie kind of way.
StoryThis was the one part of the movie that seemed a little weak. It was a typical revenge plot, but, in its own way, it added to the flavor of the old school kung fu movie feel. Except for the language, and dress, it felt like a movie somewhere between an old Shaw Brother film, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It did have a bit of an epic feel as there were plenty of shots showing off the beautiful natural scenery that is Indonesia. If they just edited those pieces together it could have been a travel ad.
FilmographyThis is where the film really shines. This was a definite high quality film, which epic vistas, and interesting locations. It was filmed with an epic feel, and you really get the sense of weight and the larger world through the movie.
Martial ArtsThis was an interesting point for me. I'm more familiar with the Indonesian martial art of Silat, and this movie displayed none of the feel of Silat. I'm going to make the assumption that the people trained in the movie were trained in Kuntao, which is a more Chinese art that immigrated, and took root in Indonesia. The Kuntao again added to Kung Fu feeling of the movie.
Most of the martial arts were based on staff work, with very little empty hand stuff at all. Which is fine, its just a little unusual for there not to be any real empty hand martial arts in a movie. There was very little wire-work, and what there was, fit into the movie purposefully. It wasn't flying for flying's sake as some other movies are in the habit of doing.