Let’s get this one out of the way, and fast it’s there anyone who remembers the 2014 3D Hong Kong-Chinese martial arts action extravaganza, Iceman? Well, not a soul if you aren’t a fan of Asian action cinema.
The movie itself is a remake of a very popular and fondly remember film titled The Iceman Cometh, that film came out in 1989, it was a financial and critical hit and is even acknowledged as a classic from film buffs, with strong performances of both Yuen Biao and Maggie Cheung.
With that in mind, it makes sense that Iceman would come out in theaters 25 years after the original to repeat the critical and financial success of the original, it turned out that the remake was only a modest success at the box office, (it recovered almost all of its budget.) But it ended up receiving highly negative reviews.
The story is about two warriors He Ying (Donnie Yen) and Sao (Wao Bao Qiang) of the Ming dynasty that ended up trapped and frozen in the midst of a fight they both were at the time, due to an accident and they both end up waking in current China, where both warriors continue fighting in a China that is not the same as they once knew.
What is the point of all of this? You might be asking yourself. Well, to explain in detail how a sequel to a blockbuster film ends up being similar to its predecessor in many ways, and worse in others You’ll read in-depth how Iceman: The Time Traveller a sequel of 2014’s film Iceman failed up to meet the lowest of expectations settled by Iceman.
First things first, let’s go straight to the negatives, like when one saw math at school when one was younger, Iceman: The Time Traveler is slightly better than Iceman, the movie sees the return of several of the previous characters of Iceman and portrayed once again by the same actors.
Like with Iceman, the story this time around is fairly simplistic but easygoing with a lot of potentials. (Spoiler alert: squandered potential!) The plot takes itself too seriously, that is overbearing, it’s like that the scriptwriters have the delusion that the story for whatever reason would be a masterpiece in the making.
The scriptwriters were wrong about thinking that, the plot it’s like a mean child that doesn’t know when to stop, and it’s constantly yelling at you to get your attention without realizing how hurtful it can be for you.
The production values of the film are extremely cheap, the special effects are shockingly awful, and the film was released at cinemas with a horrible 3D conversion that it seems that it was done fast by the ones in charge of doing that.
It doesn’t make sense whatsoever that a movie with a hefty sum of money for the budget can look so bad, the pacing is all over the place, even though Iceman: The Time Traveler is a shorter movie than Iceman, it still doesn’t do the movie any favors at all.
When it came to the movie on the screen, the cinematography was completely dull, it was ugly looking, and don’t let me talk about the camerawork and the bashing that I have reserved for it, you know what? I’ll let myself loose at this one, for starters, the camerawork it’s certainly an art form an Asian cinema, but somehow they manage to screw it up in this movie.
The camerawork in the movie looked as it was manned by a cameraman in the midst of having a stroke or even arthritis. When the aerial footage came along, I really lost all hope of finding something to enjoy seeing at Iceman: The Time Traveler, the aerial footage was terribly shot, come on that drone footage was horrid! It was unbelievable how horrible it was.
Grainy aerial footage aside, what can be said about the green screen SFX artist working in Iceman: The Time Traveler? To put it mildly, the artist failed to do a very convincing job, when it came to the depth perception and perspective, it was like both of those things didn’t exist in the real world at all, the green screen SFX artist didn’t bother to check if there was a decent shadow, a good image composite, and ambient blending.
Let’s detailed the issues surrounding the script, first of all, it’s astonishing to know that someone got paid, because of the script provided to the production of this movie. It has lazy plotting and just not that good in some kind of good bad sort of way, it has terrible dialogue, every character on screen spends a good chunk of the movie’s runtime vomiting exposition.
The twists and turns are telegraphed a mile away in fact, and there is out of character monologues straight out of a soap opera that aside of repeating events already seen also set the events in motion for the next scene and so on.
The plotting doesn’t make any sense, because it’s complete nonsense, character motivations are not fleshed out or developed whatsoever. The viewers will end up feeling confused.
Iceman: The Time Traveler has production troubles written all over it, nobody would be surprised to know that it is evident that there was interference from one or more film studios, also from producers, actors, scriptwriters, the director, in short, as the saying goes, there were many cooks in the kitchen.
What about the movies genre matching? It was a bad sci-fi movie, for a comedy movie, it was a total bore plain, and through, the slapstick was unfunny, was there any romance? Noup! The cast didn’t have any sort of chemistry or rapport whatsoever, there are several quips and banters that end up making the character interactions completely lame.
The action was ok, fairly decent. The film’s editing was mismatched process and plain confusing at that, apparently it seems that it was re-edited several times and there could be several cuts of this movie out there.
Now, with the bad out of the way, let’s get focused on the positives as surprising as it may seem Iceman: The Time Traveler has a low number of positives, (and an excruciating amount at that) the fighting choreography is absolutely incredible to watch, it really made the sometimes poorly filmed action scenes to be enjoyable to watch.
Donnie Yen himself was the one in charge of the fighting choreography, and he truly made it engaging, and impressive for the viewer.
The customizing and wardrobe was good and it looked worn out and fitting for the times periods where the film is constantly intertwining, the art department, and the customizing department truly made their best in their respective departments. What about the wire-work? It was excellent, it blended well, and truly elevated the fight choreography.
This reviewer closing thoughts for this movie are the following, Iceman: The Time Traveler is a total misfire in almost every aspect of its craft, a disgrace in Asian cinema and for filmmaking in general.
I wouldn’t recommend Iceman: The Time Traveler for an Asian film buff or to an Asian martial arts film fan whatsoever, perhaps I would recommend it to someone who loves to watch terrible movies and use it for drinking games.