No Man's Land (2013) Poster

(2013)

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7/10
After a four year delay!
lasttimeisaw6 December 2013
In China, December is a peculiar protective month for Chinese films since we are embracing new arrivals which are exclusively made in China (with few exceptions due to bizarre co-distribution policies, for instance WELCOME TO THE PUNCH 2013, which is doomed to be swamped by its formidable competitors), but Ning's latest offer NO MAN'S LAND is an even odder case, it actually was filmed in 2009 before his previous picture GUNS N' ROSES (2012, 6/10), however it failed the censorship and had been pushed back until now, meanwhile its leading actor Zheng Xu has become the most successful director himself (his director debut LOST IN THAILAND 2012 has been the highest grossing Chinese film of all time, more than 1.2 billion Chinese yuan in all), and co-star Bo Huang presently is one of the most popular and bankable actor. Thus, if we disregard the protracted modulate process to pander to the despicable censorship, financially speaking, the timing cannot be better!

Since CRAZY STONE (2006, 8/10) Ning has accrued a solid fan base and is one of the most prominent directors of his peers, NO MAN'S LAND ventures into a territory where Chinese films scarcely enter, Western, more specifically, it is a road movie sets within a 500 mile no man's wilderness, Xu is an uprising lawyer just won a lawsuit for a callous falcon hunter (Duobujie), when Xu drives the hunter's car (as his reward) back to city, en route in the bare desert, a series of mishaps successively occur, which encompasses a killer (Huang), a prostitute (Yu), two lorry drivers (Ba and Wang), the owner of a tourist trap (Yang) and his retarded son (Pei Wang), while the ultimate boss of the catch and release is the hunter himself, who harbors a vicious scheme to both carry the contraband to the buyers and get rid of the snobbish lawyer.

Nevertheless Man proposes but God disposes, the Domino effect starts with one single sputum, everything starts to run amok. Ning does go to great length to make all the incidents sound logical, there is plethora of human stains among these boors, self-seekers, extortioners, poachers and murderers, the only counterbalance is the goodhearted but frail sex worker, who assumes a pivotal impetus for Xu's heroic self-sacrifice. The vast Gobi desert provides a stupefying outlook to inspect the good and the evil stem from one's heart, violence abounds, the rule of survival turns citizens into voracious animals.

Highlight from the cast, Duobujie is a Chinese analog of Jarvier Bardem in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007, 9/10), the action chick Nan Yu retreats back into a stereotyped damsel-in- distress niche but is tellingly watchable. Bo Huang brings about the same sum of trembles and laughters with empowering swagger, and by design our heart roots for Xu's character, whose ill- fated story strikes a chord although his loft transition is a bit too intentional for a heroic cause, like the bombastic ending.

Clearly the cast has undergone some physical maltreatment during the filming, under the extreme weather and locale, and the final product is principally recommendable for its sleek plot twists, waggish dialog and highly entertaining cat-and-mouse chases and skirmishes, but bearing in mind Hao Ning's reputation as Chinese Guy Ritchie or Quentin Tarantino, NO MAN'S LAND could be more unorthodox and maybe its original version is, but woefully we would never know.
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7/10
...excellent crime, dark comedy, suspense movie..albeit occasionally a tad slow...
bcheng9316 February 2016
..totally enjoyed this movie..negative reviewers wouldn't know a good movie if it hit them in the face. this movie could be made in any country and it would be a good watch. the dark comedic moments really made me laugh inside and there's plenty of those moments. the main protagonist was perfect for this movie..he's suppose to be an everyday guy not a buff superhero..the reviewer who gave this a 1 star review..haha. Huang Bo had some really dark comic lines in this movie, at no times was he just trying to be funny. in my opinion ..if you are a fan of this type of movie..you shouldn't miss this one. i know the movie is genuinely good when i don't forget about watching it. this is one i'll not forget.
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8/10
Very good commercial
imprisonment4 March 2019
It should be translated into "no man's land", not something puzzling to foreigners. It's not going to be attractive. The film is well worth seeing.
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2/10
a below average movie
WalterX7 June 2014
I am a huge fan of Xu Zheng, that's the reason I even watched the movie all the way through. There are many problems to the movie, I'll list a few: + Xu Zheng is a great comedic talent, but he lacked both the physique or the charisma requires to be an action hero + The movie tries to be funny at times, but the humor fell flat.

+ The movie feels like a pitiful attempt at a Chinese western movie.

+ The action sequences are not believable.

+ The story makes little sense. Pretty horrible writing, and apparently it took 6 people to come up with this masterpiece.

don't watch this movie, it's not worth your time.
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10/10
better than all Korea movies
conca982 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
... best film so much better than Korean movies.this is a film about highway or fire way. a Chinese lawyer saved a men who take animals to sell to Arabia. The police dead ,but he cant help himself. Huang Bo is best star in China. Xu Zheng is best,too. the girl who is whore play well. don't ask why this film was forbidden in China,i Don't KNOW, maybe killings are too much. at last it s good enjoy this.its a film about a lawyer to be a crime ,than a crime keep going to do.the only problem is police is not the point of all,I guess that why its be forbids so In a website like(china IMDb),its score 9.4,so you know why. thats all
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1/10
Abysmal
billgatesandstevejobs18 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is the first Chinese made, Mandarin film that I saw in China. Before I continue let me just say that watching a movie in China is like going to A Night at The Apollo Theater. People come in late and walk in front of you 15 minutes after the start of the movie, people are giving live commentary throughout the movie, people are talking on their phones and checking their social networks on FULL brightness throughout the movie. It doesn't help that more often than not, you'll get someone who smells like he/she hasn't bathed in a week sitting next to you. I've seen a lot of Hollywood movies over here, including Chinese dubbed versions. I thought that this was understandable for Hollywood films in China since they only read the subtitles but the Chinese do this for all movies. I saw it in Guangzhou and if you're ever over here, I suggest watching movies at home because if you do otherwise, your patience and sanity will be sorely tested. OK, now on to the movie.

I know the director is fairly young and this movie took something like 4 years before being released, but it should've been locked away forever. To avoid wasting 2 hours of your life, here are some reasons why you should skip this piece of junk:

* The lead actor is someone with whom we share no sympathy for. He's a professional but immoral lawyer who is unlikable and he is the person responsible for causing all the grief throughout the movie. We have to have a scene where the lead cries to show his desperation over his ineptitude (actually most of the characters in the movie are inept).

* The female lead feels as out of place as Indiana Jones at a Hitler Youth rally. She is clean and pretty, yet she's been married to a rest-stop hobo in the Wasteland straight out of Mad Max for who knows how long. Her constant nagging is annoying to bear. We get the usual damsel-in- distress lady who cries and screams and begs.

* At times in the movie it feels like the director didn't know what he wanted to do with the film - make it a dark comedy or thriller or horror or apocalyptic Road Warrior film? There are scenes throughout points in the movie that seem so out of place, like when the frail scared lawyer gets on a horse and we get a minute's montage of him riding across the land like a warrior swinging his briefcase.

* We get the usual hyper-dramatic scenes of actors looking at each other making over-the-top facial expressions over something trivial (a staple in Asian shows) and long shots focused on their eyebrows that amount to nothing. For example, I say "Hey let's go get coffee". You say, "Sure I can't wait". Now we stare at each other with serious expressions like the world is going to end and the director holds his shot on our faces for 2 minutes. Then we both say "Let's go", end scene.

* In Chinese TV shows and movies, when it comes to drama, there's a considerable amount of pitying going on. Usually if the character has enough self pity and gets others to take pity on him/her, he/she gets ahead in life as crazy as that sounds.

* Usually when a film starts with a character narrating the events throughout the movie, that character survives to the end (spoiler!) but that's not the case here. And the last 5+ minutes of the movie? What the heck was that about? The story already concluded and we get treated not to the relief of leaving the theater but an attempt at pitying the female lead and her new job at a dance studio - WTF?! It's a completely different movie, it felt totally tacked on just like that scene from Iron Man 3 with the doctor and Fanbingbing to push a Yili milk ad.

* The scenes drag on and on and on. Just when you think you've reached a point where a character's arc can be gracefully concluded, the director manages to keep going and drag it out even further. Although this movie was 2 hours long, it felt longer than all of the Lord of the Rings movies COMBINED. I felt like walking out of this movie several times throughout the screening because the story was so dull, predicable, and the acting was terrible - like they hired street vendors to play some of the roles.

Some other mentions:

* There's the protagonist's car that's a direct ripoff of the Honda Accord and a long lingering shot on a cigarette brand (yes smoking is highly prevalent in China).

* Keep in mind that I've ignored things like the protagonist being able to survive after getting shot twice and surviving without a scratch after flipping over a police car going at over 100 kph (that's 62+ mph). Or how the girl managed to lock herself in the trunk with her luggage while there were people next to the car running around. Or how characters come in deux-machina style at the right time and at the right place.

* The only person that I cheered for was the antagonist because he was the only capable person in a movie filled with numskulls. Couldn't the casting director have found people who looked less weaselly?

Summary: oh my God, never again.
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7/10
copy 2 China
yoggwork21 February 2019
It seems that the local directors of China still like and are good at this C2C (copy 2 China) tuning. It is almost impossible to create new forms of expression and new theatrical models by oneself. Fortunately, there are a few old opera bones, at least they can hold up.
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