“The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity” is an effects-and-exposition-stuffed character-cluttered Chinese martial arts fantasy — heavy on the fantasy, light on the martial arts.
But rather than let the collage of images above suffice, I suppose I should give you more of a taste of what it’s like lest you invest two hours and twelve minutes of your time unwisely.
There are these priests in ancient Never Never China charged with defending against the Evil Serpent, “the first of all evil things,” whenever it rears its viperous head.
The assorted priests are summoned to the Imperial City to defend it against serpent skullduggery and other demons.
Two of the priests meet cute — and hostile. But you just know a bromance is aborning whenever Qing Ming (Mark Chao) throws down with Boya (Allen Deng),
“You talk the way you fight. Without thinking!”
They’ve all taken on “the austere duty of saving lives,” so they cast protection spells and cope with magical portal incursions into the city and infighting and suspicion in their ranks when people are murdered.
They conjure and fly and fight and meet on digital soundstage dreamscapes, camera circling them as they get profound or romantic or sarcastic.
“Are you saying I’m stupid?” “Sure am!” “Aren’t you the clever one?” “I will NOT be mocked!”
There are these guardians they’re teamed up with to supposedly “capture demon energy.” Is this based on a video game? Anyway, the guardians are whimsically-named Mad Painter, Crimsons Bird, White Tiger, Black Tortoise and Blue Dragon.
“Just my luck. Of all the guardians, I get the Blue Dragon.”
Yup, just your luck.
The effects are fine, although some of the digital landscapes are more convincing than others. The acting is generic and black, more a matter of makeup and costume and slo-mo digital fight choreography than “performance.”
It’s not thrilling, not romantic and lacking either, not much fun at all.
The priest and demonic deaths are impressive, even though the script is such a hash one is inclined to be culturally insensitive and call it “nonsense.”
MPA Rating: TV-14, violence, a little blood
Cast: Mark Chao, Allen Deng, Ziwen Wang, Jessie Li
Credits: Scripted and directed by Jingming Guo. A Netflix release.
Running time: 2:12