Outcast

OUTCAST HAS BEEN CAST OUT BY THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT
Directed by Nick Powell, the film Outcast has a lot of combat, beginning with the Crusades, when Gallain (played by Nicholas Cage) is disappointed that his military student Jacob (Hayden Christiansen) has apparently killed women and children (though Jacob did not do so). Both leave separately, headed on different paths for China, where Shing (Andy On) has just led a victorious army and returns to claim the throne from his ailing father (Shi Liang). But the king has designated Shing’s younger brother Zhao (Bill Su Jiahang) as the heir to the throne and has assigned his sister Lian (Crystal Liu Yifei) to make sure that the future king’s life will be safe as they flee for their lives. Jacob, whose path crosses the prince and the princess, then protects them until they reach a mountain top fortress, where Gallain and his Chinese bride are holding out with family defenders. The king is assassinated by Shing, claims that Zhao has done so, and demands that the army bring Zhao to justice, which of course means another battle is inevitable. Although the film was partly financed by a Chinese company with government approval, the film was not allowed to be exhibited on what was to be the opening day last September. The reason is unclear but underscores the difficulty of working with the government to cash in on such a large film market. Among possible explanations are that there is a quota of foreign films allowed in the country at any one time; there might be scenes that need to be removed; or that the story involves Caucasians fighting better than Chinese at kung fu in the twelfth century, not an acceptable plot just before the national holiday during the first ten days of October. MH