Movie Review: TENGU: BIRDMAN OF THE MOUNTAINS (2016)

  MOVIE POSTERTENGU: BIRDMAN OF THE MOUNTAINS, 8min., UK, Action/Fantasy
Directed by Samuel Smith

A father struggles to protect his family against the terror of the Tengu, bird-men of the mountains.

Played at the October 2016 ACTION/CRIME Short Film Festival

Review by Kierston Drier

This poetic fantasy action film, hailing from the United Kingdom and coming to us from director Samuel Smith, is a study in genre splicing. Tengu: Birdman of the Mountains has the poetic elements of a romance, the luxurious visuals of a fantasy, the tension and suspense of a thriller, and the fight scenes of a high-concept action film. Told through the eyes of a child, our hero watches as his highly skilled father, endowed with supernatural natural strength from his Chi, fights off terrifying bird-like villains from this family’s mountain home. Packed with stunning fight sequences that highlight the filmmakers’ excellent technical skills, this piece is a must-see for anyone who enjoys action.

There is some disconnect in the story, although it is justifiable. Despite the glamourous make up and extravagant clothing the Hero’s family wears, the shelter they dwell in appears to be little more than sticks tied to together into a ramshackle hovel. However, when it is considered that this film is taken through the eyes of a child, and also straddles of the line of fantasy and action- this distension of disbelief is well worth it the pay off. And pay off? A glowing story of intrigue, passion, and danger with a dark and sinister twist.

Tengu: Birdman of the Mountains,  is a film that will delight you with its symbology, its imagery and it’s excellent fight sequences, but it goes far beyond that. This film represents of genre-hybrid that should be welcomed into cinema with open arms. It is highly commendable thing to be able to successfully blend genres together, and this film is able to do that. With effortless ease a viewer can watch this film and find something in it to enjoy even if they are not conventionally a viewer of action.

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