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Asoka Review

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  • Asoka Review

    Anyone interested in foreign films might want to take a look at the Indian film Asoka. The movie describes, liberally it might seem, the life of the Mauryan dynasty ruler, Asoka. The movie involves the power plays of warring Indian states and focuses heavily on Asoka's period of exile during which he has a romance with an exiled princess of another warring state.

    Those who enjoy colorful epics will enjoy the period clothing and ancient palaces. Although the movie doesn't have the sweeping panoramic urban shots as seen in movies like Cleopatra (the original) and Alexander one can still appreciate the period architecture.

    *Musical Hater Alert* Although the film is not advertised as a musical it will rarely go more than ten minutes before the cast break into a song and dance number. Unlike traditional musicals, where the actors have a conversation through song, these songs are unrelated to the general dialogue and seem to just pop up out of nowhere. The songs sound suspicously contemporary. They also feature lots of bellydancing so any conservative parents may want to stand ready to shield their children's eyes.

    *Kung Fu Movie Hater Alert* Chinese martial arts movies styles have apparently infiltrated India. Although you won't see anything as ludicrous as guys jumping on water the fight sequences are very Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon styled and include exxagerated, impractical weapons. One sequence involves Asoka slaying his enemies with a whip of.....razor sharp tinfoil would be my best guess.

    Historical purists will take note of a humorous anachronism where Asoka gets into a sword fight with bounty hunters. All are using swords that are clearly of Moghul design, the anachronism equivalent of having William Wallace using a Colt Revolver at the Battle of Stirling.

    Overall the movie is quite entertaining, though, and I reccomend giving it a rent - unless you really hate singing.
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