Mojin: The Lost Legend – ★ ★ ★ DVD Review
Hu Bayi (Kun Chen), Wang Kaixuan (Bo Huang), and Shirley Yang (Qi Shu) are Mojin, grave robbers, or tomb raiders if you will. From what I gathered from the back of the box, they were professional grave robbers, and possibly they were supposed to be official or government sanctioned grave robbers? Maybe that’s how the Mojin began. I thought I remembered reading something about how when the government needed money, they would send the Mojin in to retrieve treasures from the tombs of the old nobles to refill the coffers. We see a bit of this sanctioned raiding at the beginning of the film and a bit of an explanation that makes the whole movie just that much cooler and more interesting. A human lights the candle and the ghosts blow it out. A Mojin would place a candle in the south-east corner of a tomb after entering, in an attempt to make contact with the dead. If the candle was extinguished it was a sign that the spirits within opposed the intrusion, and the robbers would be obliged to depart, leaving everything intact and undisturbed.
Apparently Hu, Wang and Shirley are the last of the Mojin and they’ve retired from the grave robbing game as Hu and Shirley had gotten engaged, and then broken up, causing several rifts in the group. They’re lured back into the tombs by a mysterious businesswoman Madam Ying who wants them to find the ancient tomb of a Mongolian princess and retrieve a famed artifact known as the Equinox Flower that allegedly has the power to raise the dead. Wang sets out on his own to find the tomb eventually and reluctantly teams up with Hu as they discover that the tomb is the same one they found as teenagers where Ding Sitian (Angelababy), the girl they both loved, died in front of them. Shirley rejoins the team and they navigate a series of traps and puzzles to stay ahead of Madam Ying’s soldiers en route to the infamous prize.
Very very good special effects. Enormous sets were build and a lot of high quality CGI went into this one, but I enjoyed the premise, the characters and the story, even though it was a little light at times. The acting was decent, I guess. Asian cinema is much different from North American or European cinema, so it’s a little hard for me to judge. The acting is a little more over the top, and the performances seem to be “louder”. Sometimes it’s difficult to critique a performance or line delivery when you’re reading the subtitles of a film. Mojin: The Lost Legend was a long film, clocking in just over two hours, and seemed to drag a little bit at times, but it also left me wanting more. I really wanted to see the Mojin explore and solve more of the puzzles and traps in the tombs.
Bottom Line: The film is based on the popular Chinese adventure novel series Ghost Blows Out the Light about a trio of legendary grave robbers. Great, another book to maybe find and put on my “to read” pile…