Blu-ray Review: Wind Blast
Review by Marc Patterson
“Assassins are passé in the 21st century. We should retire.”
It’s a thought-provoking line of dialogue that aptly summarizes many of my feelings about Gao Qunshu’s latest action flick, Wind Blast. Wait a second. Don’t take that the wrong way, well not completely. Let me explain.
Wind Blast is a fast-paced high kicking martial arts western set in the remote regions of China. Despite a convoluted synopsis on the back cover of the Blu-ray the story isn’t all that complicated. Fierce contract killer Zhang is on the run from the underworld with his pregnant girlfriend Sun Jing in tow. On their trail is a colorful, yet oddball, group of three special ops police who ride blazing fast horses and recklessly stunt drive Jeeps across the Chinese desert in hot pursuit. Also in pursuit of Zhang are a pair of assassins, hired to capture him and torture him for the information he stole. You’ve got a perfect collision of cops vs. bad guys vs. more bad guys in a near epic-length shoot-em-up.
The first thing that grabbed me about Wind Blast was how good looking the film was. The cinematography was stunning and vibrant and the desert setting as bleak and barren as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, a film that you can’t help but feel partially inspired this story. The backdrop becomes every bit as much a character as the ones we see on the screen. With Gao Qunchu’s wild and furious direction the desert is transformed into the perfect setting for the hyper-stylized gun-slinging action that takes place. There’s plenty of witty banter, and slickly edited set-pieces to please the eye.
Qunchu spends a good amount of time switching up the character POV so as not to let the viewer really form a definitive opinion about who’s really good, who’s bad, and who will come out on top. This works well to the aim of the film and certainly helped keep me engaged, despite a few segments becoming a bit convoluted and confusing, forcing me to hit the rewind button to give a closer second viewing. Simply stated, Wind Blast sports a solid enough story to support the intent, but you’re not going to be able to blame this film for being too heady, or the plot too thick.
This is where I also found fault with the film. As frenzied a pace as it has on occasion, (since it also sports a few dreadful lulls) Wind Blast feels (to echo the bounty hunter’s sentiment) so incredibly passé, and at times disjointed. Despite the fact that I casually enjoyed this flick I’ll ultimately remember this flick for being incredibly unmemorable. That’s not to say you can’t have a good time with it. There’s plenty of action taking place to mesmerize the screen adrenaline junkie, including a highly-explosive ending (quite literally since everything goes up in a gaseous ball of flame). You just need to be in the mood for a superficial bit of action that runs roughly two-hours long, which for me was at least a half hour too long.
Wind Blast is now available on Blu-ray from Well-Go Entertainment