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Film / Moon Warriors

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"The most beautiful meadow of flowers are those who grows atop the dead."
Fei (portrayed by Andy Lau)

Moon Warriors is a 1993 Wuxia Martial Arts Movie directed by Sammo Hung, starring Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Kenny Bee and Anita Mui.

Fei (Andy Lau) is a simple fisherman living in a rural Chinese village in the Ming Dynasty, who saved the life of a Prince during an assassination attempt. Fei is immediately hired by the Prince as a guide to reach the Prince's fiance, Princess Moon, and he is tasked with leading both the Prince and his loyal bodyguard Xian-er (Maggie Cheung) across the wilderness where assassins awaits at every turn. But Fei ends up becoming more involved in the quest than he imagined when he ends up stranded alone with the beautiful Princess Moon (Anita Mui).

This movie contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Xian'er, the Prince's personal bodyguard and most loyal warrior, who had no problem fighting hordes and hordes of mooks.
  • Arc Words: The above page quote is spoken by Fei, when he and Princess Moon crosses a small meadow in which the mausoleum is located underneath. It becomes an Ironic Echo when, in the epilogue following a brief Time Skip, an older Fei returns to the same meadow where Xian and Princess Moon had died in the mausoleum underneath, and this time the meadow is blooming entirely with beautiful flowers.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Fei and Xian during their first meeting, and later with Princess Moon when they're on their own in the woods.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Princess Moon starts warming up to Fei after they were stuck together in the wilderness while being pursued by enemy assassins. Little did she know their relationship would gradually develop into romance.
  • Beneath the Earth: Much of the climax takes place in a series of underground tombs and mausoleums, filled with the graves of the past emperors and warlords. It also collapses after the finale, leaving no survivors except Fei.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Fei after the village battle scene when one of the two Mook Lieutenant land a lethal hit through his gut, before he passed out. Subverted that he regains consciousness and doesn't die from his injuries, however.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Fei is the bodyguard of Princess Moon when they end up separated after an attempt at her life. Guess how it turns out.
  • Cape Snag: Or Dress Snag, to be precise. While fighting Lord Lan's personal assassin in the forest battle, Princess Moon gets her long dress caught in some branches rendering her vulnerable for a few seconds.
  • Close-Knit Community: The fishing village where Fei resides, home to less than a hundred people in its relatively small community of fishermen. Unfortunately, the entire village’s inhabitants get massacred in the ending with Fei as the Sole Survivor.
  • Cool Old Guy: Lord Moon, the Princess' father, who can kick loads and loads of ass and kills a dozen assassins in all 3 minutes of his screen time (He’s played by Chang Yi, a former Shaw Brothers martial arts icon).
  • Dark Action Girl: Lord Lan's personal assassin and henchwoman. The audience doesn't know she's a lady when she first shows up trying to kill Fei and the Princess, until she reports of her failure back to Lord Lan and we hear her speak.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Princess Moon starts off a bit spoiled and over-pampered, before warming up to Fei eventually.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Princess Moon succumbs while looking lovingly at Fei, him being the last person she sees before expiring.
  • Doomed Hometown: Fei's fishing village gets destroyed in the end of the movie, with all its inhabitants slaughtered. Even the children.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: While Fei gets involved into the plot after saving the Prince from assassins, he doesn’t get actively integrated into the quest until Princess Moon steps into his life, at which point he’s hopelessly dedicated to her… this would eventually result in assassins after him coming into his village to kill everyone in it.
  • Expy:
    • Fei is a Captain Ersatz of Yang Guo, a character portrayed by Andy Lau in his earlier television series, Return of the Condor Heroes.
    • As mentioned in Heroic Dolphin, Fei’s pet orca is likely inspired by the titular character of Free Willy.
  • Eye Scream: Lord Lan gets stabbed in both eyes in the climatic final battle.
  • Faux Action Girl: Princess Moon. She can fight, and manage to kill three assassins coming at her with her hairpin darts, but one scene later she's seen squirming and whining because this is the first time she have killed and she's feeling very sick over it.
  • Forbidden Romance: The love story between Fei and Princess Moon, who cannot be fulfilled because Fei is a simple fisherman and Princess Moon is… a, uhm, princess, I think. Eventually what separates them is the fact that Princess Moon doesn’t outlive the credits.
  • Heroic Dolphin: Fei’s pet is his orca, who helps him while he’s diving for fish. It’s probably no coincidence that this movie comes out 6 months after Free Willy.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lord Lan tries to kill Fei in a last, desperate Taking You with Me move by throwing his spear towards Fei. While he managed to wound Fei with his throw, he failed to kill his opponent, and instead knock over a section of the cavern causing a chain reaction leading to a massive tombstone falling right on top of him.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: During the campfire, Fei offers Princess Moon a bite of the meat he's roasting over a campfire. The princess takes a nibble and asks what meat it is. It's an anteater. Cue the princess doing a Spit Take.
  • Impaled Palm: After getting wounded by Lord Lan's personal assassin, Fei, before passing out, tries throwing his sword at the assassin. He only managed to impale her through the palm.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Right in the opening scene, we have a band of the Prince’s bodyguards getting trapped and assailed by bamboo poles, many of which ends with pointy parts going into flesh with loads and loads of High-Pressure Blood.
    • Fei gets impaled by Lord Lan’s flung spear in the ending fight, but through the shoulder. He survives the movie.
  • It's Personal: Fei's vendetta against Lord Lan is now mano-on-mano because Lord Lan ordered to Leave No Survivors, culminating in Fei's entire village getting massacred.
  • Off with His Head!: Lord Lan executes a henchman who failed his mission in this manner. Using a bow (The bowstring is apparently made of Razor Floss).
  • One-Man Army: Fei and Xian can fight scores of mooks on their own. Fei becomes one literally when he's all alone trying to stop an army of assassins coming to kill everyone in his village. And failing.
  • Long Haired Prettyboy: The main character and The Hero, Fei. Given the Ming Dynasty setting its expected, but in several scenes the camera seems to focus a lot on his long, flowing hair.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Downplayed, but in the end Fei’s Roaring Rampage of Revenge is for the 89 villagers killed by Lord Lan’s assassins.
  • Mugged for Disguise: In one scene, many of Princess Moon's handmaidens wanders a bit too far to the corner of a field. A few seconds later the camera pans to show a dozen dead handmaidens, and a dozen assassins Disguised in Drag with the handmaiden's scarves coming for the princess.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Fei saved the Prince's life and helped him reunite with the Princess as well as regain the royal seal for his throne. He ends up getting a bounty on his head, where a legion of Lord Lan's assassins follows him back to the fishing village and kills everyone living in it.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Fei battling the two Mook Lieutenant leading the wave of soldiers hell-bent on killing everyone in his village ends when Fei manage to impale both of them, one at a time, on his sword, although he gets wounded in the process.
  • Piggyback Cute: A rare, gender-inverted example, but in the forest battle after Fei gets stabbed by Lord Lan's personal assassin, Princess Moon had to carry Fei on her back out of the forest while pelading for him to wake up.
  • Rescue Romance: Princess Moon starts falling for Fei after he saved her from the legion assassins sent after her.
  • Squashed Flat: The Big Bad Lord Lan dies this way, getting crushed by a collapsing tombstone.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Happens more than once to various mooks in the movie, although subverted in the Impaled Palm example above.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Some of the enemy soldiers are armed with shields and pikes. To bypass them, Fei and Xian would either stomp on their shields and make them fall down, or somersault over their shields and attack from behind.
  • Skewed Priorities: Princess Moon, after surviving her first assassination attempt and barely escaping with her life, before stumbling into the forest alone with Fei. The first thing she did is to complain about the blood on her dress from a dead assassin who fell on her...
  • Step into the Blinding Fight:
    • The confrontation between Fei and Princess Moon, and Lord Lan's personal assassin, happens late at night, where they pursue each other into a dark cavern lit by a dim torch.
    • The climax takes place in an underground mausoleum where visibility is rather poor, combatants have to rely more on their hearing instead of sight.
  • The Usurper: The Big Bad Lord Lan is after his brother the Prince’s throne, and is willing to hire elite assassins which serves to make life difficult for the good guys.
  • Wire Fu: Most of the leaping stunts and summersaulting moves throughout the film are achieved with this effect. The characters likes to jump everywhere.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The assassins sent to massacre the village leaves literally no survivors. Not even children! In fact, one shot lingers a little too uncomfortably long on a dead little girl whose throat was slashed open…
  • You Have Failed Me: Lord Lan, who is a Bad Boss, have no qualms executing or abusing his failed minions, including his personal assassin which he spanks repeatedly after she failed to deliver the princess.