Review: Netflix's Sword-and-Sorcery Fantasy Film THE YIN-YANG MASTER: DREAM OF ETERNITY
Fantasy movies usually come with loads of unbelievable and unexplainable occurrences and powers. The Yin-Yang Master: Dream Of Eternity has all that plus loads of drama and surprising plot points. Even though this movie is full of so many things, it has a hard time doing any of them well.
This is usually where I would summarize the story, but this plot is kind of excessively complex and yet never does anything exceptionally interesting or unique. All the characters seem to have some connection like a soap opera, which could lead to some fun drama, but it never does. And the rest of the plot just boils down to an evil entity being born and the good guys having to stop it. Whether it’s in the original Chinese or dubbed, there are so many quick conversations, cuts, flashbacks, and “important looks” that it’s hard to determine what exactly is happening and why. The movie does justify crazy action scenes enough to be watchable, but its shallow story doesn’t reach any further into the significance or emotional weight of human relationships.
At its core, The Yin-Yang Master is an action movie, and if that’s what you want from this, that’s what you’ll get. There are plenty of fights, monsters, and insane powers to keep the movie and characters going. The actual special effects and stuntwork seem to come from blockbuster movies from five years ago. In other words, nothing is so bad that it ruins the movie, but sometimes the effects are subpar and that takes away from the scene having any real weight. The wirework is a staple of this genre of film, but it doesn’t look any less goofy, especially when it’s clearly on a green screen.
The only other thing to really address here is the actors and their characters. Even in this high fantasy and surreal world, the characters feel extremely one dimensional and more absurd than a Saturday morning cartoon. I’m not expecting Oscar-level writing or deep character development, but it would be nice if each character wasn’t so predictable and easy to understand within the first moments of meeting them.
While all these beautifully designed sets, outfits, and lots of CGI create a large spectacle, the human relations and silly interactions keep it to a fairly generic fantasy film. If you just want to watch a bunch of cool animated fights set in ancient China, then this movie will do the trick.