The Fangirl’s Movie Review: The Shadow

Director Zhang Yimou released a new movie and I had to check it out. Come find out if I enjoyed the action wuxia movie, The Shadow, and whether you should watch it when it comes out on Netflix next week.



Set during China’s Three Kingdom’s era (AD 220–280). The story of a great king and his people, who will be expelled from their homeland and will aspire to claim it. The king, violent and ambitious, of mysterious methods and motives; his general, a visionary who yearns to win the final battle but needs to prepare his plans in secret; the women of the palace, who struggle to find redemption in a world where they have no place; and a commoner called “Lord of all the world”, will be the characters around who turn the inexorable forces of this story. (MyDramaList)


While the plot synopsis is very interesting, a look-alike takes the place of a famous general who is wasting away physically, the actual story was difficult to get into. Be sure you read the synopsis because the story starts right in the middle and you have to really pay attention to get all the backstory. That little bit of extra knowledge will keep everything straight.


This is really where this movie excels. The black, white, and gray palette is brilliantly complex, and I loved how beautiful all the scenes were. The battle sequences in the last third of the movie were worth sludging through the early plot.


This was a pretty basic setup that you will be familiar with if you watch Chinese dramas. The various characters were absolutely ruthless and cared little to none to those whose lives they destroyed. It was a basic story which was good but nothing that would get me to watch a second time.

Final Thoughts

I am conflicted about whether to recommend this or not. On one hand, the directing was brilliant and should be witnessed. On the other hand, the story can be confusing in the beginning and a little slow. This truly is an artistically focused movie and if you are there expecting straightforward storytelling then you will be disappointed. So, in the end, I give it a 6.5 out of 10. I love the directing but felt disconnected to any of the characters.

Have any of you watched this? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments. I think this is a movie that can be very polorizing depending on who is watching, so I would love to hear more opinions.

Til the next cinematic moment,


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

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