There’s plenty of story-positioning in The Yin Yang Master: Dream Of Eternity, and that’s a slight issue because it doesn’t need the exposition as much as it thinks.
In a nutshell, the story follows Qingming, also known as Yin-Yang master, who vows to bring down the evil serpent in Imperial City after causing havoc. The serpent is resting in a host as a shell, and there’s a clear suspicion of who this character is from the first act. The Imperial City is blessed with humans and demons, and there’s a strange imbalance of dislike towards the demons. The Netflix film makes a thematic choice to question the morality of shunning them. In many respects, Qingming is a coy demon-sympathizer, with his acquaintance Master Boya in disagreement with his methods.
But it’s evident from the first second that Netflix’s The Yin Yang Master: Dream Of Eternity attempts to be a visual treat, with its fantasy realms and representation of powers; it uncannily brings back memories of Doctor Strange, with its interpretation of portal travel from one location to another. There’s such an over-reliance on the visuals and the keen costume design that the dialogue falls at the side.
And that’s not necessarily a disaster; with cool choreography in fight scenes, and a constant rummage to make it to the third act, The Yin-Yang Master: Dream Of Eternity provides good action to engage the viewer’s brain after a period of lull. It’s the dullness between acts that is the issue — there are not enough strong performances or an interesting script to keep you engaged, and this is a two-hour and twelve-minute feature.
The Netflix film is essentially a dry action-fantasy, propped up with an aggressive urge to reach the finale. I enjoyed the final act; it really secured the serpent’s importance, tying in the mythology, and entangling the characters in a whirlwind of spirituality and power. While the director has gone ham on the CGI, the concentration on action sequences makes up for it.
However, for something as grandiose as it sells, The Yin Yang Master: Dream Of Eternity does not have a re-watch value despite the production efforts. The wooden performances and static script really lets it down. There’s a splurge of excitement to make the production value full of fireworks, but without substance, it’s an empty shell.
A bit outdated special mythological graphic effects on the giant serpent, mediocre story structure, slower developing pace; lots of action scenes but mostly mediocre kung fu actions per Chinese drama standard is all that keeps The Yin Yang Master: Dream of Eternity from being a truly engaging and enchanting watch. With the production and costume this good and essentially a mix of Doctor Strange and Naruto, it’s a shame that the movie couldn’t achieve what it could have.
The Yin Yang Master: Dream of Eternity is now streaming on Netflix.
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