Characters come a poor second to the f/x in “Red Snow,” a mountain rescue movie that reunites many of the creative team (including helmer Zhang Jianya) behind “Crash Landing,” an impressive Chinese airplane disaster movie shot in 1999. No-nonsense playing by Hong Kong-based thesp Karen Mok, performing confidently in Mandarin, makes this largely of interest to Asiaphiles, though it’s an enjoyable rollercoaster of brainless entertainment for auds looking for non-Hollywood spectacle.
After a confusing opening, which cross-cuts among various characters and several different timeframes, pic settles down, as Lhasa-based doc Xiang Li (Mok) rushes with a cabdriver (Zhu Lei) to northwestern Tibet to rescue a sick ex-patient (Dunzhuduoji) who’s trying to rescue a monk (Duobujie) in the Kunlun Mountains. After surviving an avalanche and mud slide, Xiang & Co. manage to call for help, and the perilous helicopter mission is led by the best buddy (Shao Bing, the pilot in “Crash Landing”) of her late husband (Lin Lin). CG effects range from hokey to good, action is almost non-stop, and camerawork by Zhi Lei maintains a continual adrenalin high. Original title roughly means “Extreme Rescue.”