This made-for-TV kung-fu movie grinds the majesty of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000) to a fine powder suitable for the action genre grist mill. Os (Billy Zane) is a Shadow Man, a spirit exiled to Earth for crimes against cosmic evolution, and has walked on the wild side for several centuries. The White Warrior (Michelle Comerford) jolts him with a wake-up call the subversive Shadow Men have a rare chance to open up a vortex which will spell the end of humankind and Os becomes an instrument for peace. To open the vortex, the Shadow Men must first locate a tablet from the "Book of Life," a text older than the Dead Sea Scrolls, and decipher it. In six days time, Os's former crony Slate (David Field) plans to break the tablet's code and free his fellow Shadow Men from their twilight existence. After pilfering the ancient tablet from a collector, Slate kidnaps a professor and forces him to work on translating the prophecy etched in stone. To prevent Slate's genocidal mission, Os rounds up his own squad of saviors, each of whom can summons the power of a natural element. Policewoman Serena Blue (Stacy Oversier) represents air; burglar Keith Grady (Dominic Purcell) stands for metal; hot-tempered soldier Ray Jackson (Tory Kittles) embodies the power of fire and bodyguard Michael Fu (Byron Mann) exemplifies the force of water. The catch is that the quartet's strength lies in unity does Os have enough time to give his recruits a crash course in selfless teamwork? Adding to his mission's difficulty is Slate's ability to trick Os's warriors with mind games that dissipate their resolve. As he generally does, Zane plays his role tongue-in-cheek, but his over-the-top performance isn't really supported by the other players or by Michael Brandt, Jefery Levy and Derek Haas's painfully flat dialogue. The bottom line is that co-writer-director Levy doesn't seem to grasp the crucial difference between kidding the audience and kidding the film itself.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: NR
- Review: This made-for-TV kung-fu movie grinds the majesty of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000) to a fine powder suitable for the action genre grist mill. Os (Billy Zane) is a Shadow Man, a spirit exiled to Earth for crimes against cosmic evolution, and has wal… (more)