21 June 2024
Louis Koo in Let them fight! Watch the UK Trailer for Hong Kong Box Office hit, Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In. Trinity CineAsia

Film Review – Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In (2024)

I did not know what to expect from this film. I saw that Sammo Hung had a special appearance, and he is such an icon of Hong Kong cinema that even his presence excites me. Then I learned who the action designer for this film was, and my excitement reached an all-time high. Kenji Tanigaki is an incredible choreographer and action director. He has worked on remarkable titles like the live-action Rurouni Kenshin films, SPL: Killzone, and Snake Eyes. So, his role as the action designer for Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In made this a must-watch title for me. Heading into this film, I had high expectations, but this film has a lot up its sleeve.

Taking place in 1980s Hong Kong, the film follows our lead, Chan Lok-kwun, who accidentally enters Kowloon Walled City while being chased by Mr. Big’s men. There, he becomes close friends with the residents of this chaotic city and must defend it when Mr. Big tries to disrupt the peace. I feel that going any deeper into the film’s narrative risks the possibility of spoiling it. It is not a deep or complex film, but the narrative beats work well and connect you to the characters and the world. So, when the drama occurs, the emotional beats hit you like a truck going 100 MPH.

If anything, what allows you to enter this world is the production design. Every set and location looks aesthetically stunning, unlike anything I’ve seen in any film. Everything, from the alleyway stores to the barbershop, feels straight out of the 80s and is visually striking and gorgeous.

With the incredible sets, the action is executed expertly. The film’s action scenes are utterly mind-blowing, blending the hard-hitting style of 80s action with the Wuxia-inspired wire work of the 2000s, resulting in action that is both bone-crunching and awe-inspiring. Kenji Tanigaki does an incredible job with the choreography. Each action scene keeps one-upping the previous one and contains moments I’ve never seen before. From a character dropping a cigarette and catching it after kicking someone across the room to someone being thrown up and down, smashing into the ground—these scenes are spectacular. Not since John Wick: Chapter 4 have I seen action that left me in absolute disbelief.

Like the John Wick franchise, what allows the action and the rest of the film to work is both the direction and the cast. Soi Cheang crafted an all-time great film with Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In. Without his strong direction, I do not believe this film would work at all. He does an incredible job making this film feel like a live-action anime. The cast is also incredible. Raymond Lam, as our lead, brings a physicality to the role unlike any other. In addition, Louis Koo is incredible and is the heart of the film. His performance is masterful.

Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In is an incredible masterwork of cinema. This film will go down as one of the best action films of 2024 and one of the best action films of the decade. It is a true masterpiece of the genre and deserves to be seen.


In Cinemas from the 24 May 2024 / Louis Koo, Raymond Lam, Terrance Lau, Philip Ng, Tony WuTsz Tung, Sammo Hung / Dir: Soi Cheang / CineAsia / 15

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