Combustible Celluloid
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With: Duobuji, Lei Zhang, Liang Qi, Zhao Xueying, Zhanlin Ma
Written by: Chuan Lu
Directed by: Chuan Lu
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Tibetan, Mandarin with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 03/18/2013

Mountain Patrol: Kekexili (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Antelope Hope

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

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From China and Hong Kong comes this rugged, old-fashioned adventure tale about a scruffy band of volunteers that scours the bone-cold, bone-dry mountains of Tibet for illegal antelope poachers. Writer/director Chuan Lu brings us into the story by using a fairly obvious device -- a reporter (Lei Zhang) working on a story -- but quickly engulfs him in a wonderfully rich, Hawksian series of alliances and betrayals. Lu deftly uses the landscape as a physical guide for his characters, and its textures and temperatures come through tangibly. The group's leader, Ritai (Doubuji), casts a spell of obsession over his journey, battered by the constant danger of running out of gas, or food, in the middle of nowhere. When he gets a breath away from the poachers' trial, he must decide whether his men can possibly survive another few steps without turning back. It's such a good adventure film that it's a shame to see Lu couch it in an earnest plea for social justice against the evil poachers; when we finally see these elusive creatures in the flesh, they have more in common with the heroic vigilantes than you might expect.

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