cliff walkers review

Zhang Yimou‘s name instantly calls to mind the bright, opulent colors of the renowned Chinese filmmaker’s wuxia films and historical epics — Hero and House of Flying Daggers are two of the most sumptuous films to grace our screens. So it’s no wonder that Cliff Walkers (formerly titled Impasse), Zhang’s first foray into the spy thriller, is a handsome and stylish thriller whose wintry setting establishes a chilly mood befitting the genre.

But it’s with a cold hand that Zhang approaches Cliff Walkers. It’s more of a chance for the visual master to flex his muscles in staging taut suspense sequences that flirt with the balletic action he’s known for (this time with more Bourne-style shaky cam!) and less of anything else. But it’s hard to complain too much about the stilted, somewhat confusing, story when Cliff Walkers looks this good.

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cliff walkers trailer

The master of wuxia is taking on the spy genre. Zhang Yimou, whose wuxia masterworks House of Flying Daggers and Hero helped catapult the Chinese martial arts film to the global stage, is back with his first film since 2018’s Shadow, and his first-ever espionage movie. Cliff Walkers is a snowy spy thriller set in the puppet state of Manchukuo in the 1930s and follows four Communist party special agents on a secret mission. Watch the Cliff Walkers trailer below.

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