Notable Cast: Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tang Wei, Jimmy Wang
Also Known As: "Wu Xia"
I was anxious to see "Dragon" since it was originally released in 2011, some releases have it under the name "Wu Xia", but lacking US distribution prevented me from experiencing it. Finally, Sony got off their asses to give it a VOD release under the just as generic title "Dragon." Glad they did because this film rocked my socks off. "Dragon" is an odd combination of classic martial arts style mixed with a significant modern film noir twist with a story that isn't all that unlike Cronenberg's "History Of Violence." In the end, its a stellar combination that works on all levels.
When a couple of robbers come to a small peaceful village to rob the local market, Liu Jinxi (Donnie Yen) finds himself in a bad situation. In the scuffle that ensues, he ends up killing the two robbers and ends up a local hero. When a detective (Takeshi Kaneshiro) comes to investigate the circumstances of the robbers' deaths, he starts to see that Liu Jinxi may not be all that he seems to be...that the killing came too easy. In his stern view to uphold justice, he stays to investigate further and uncovers a secret that may have been better left alone.
|That's the international hand gesture of "don't fuck with me."|
|The mystery thickens.|
By the time this second half is in full effect, the martial arts roots take full hold albeit with a slightly modern and definite Donnie Yen twist. Yen also acts as action choreographer of the film and the impressive fight and stunt work is obvious. He slightly changes his usually gritty and realistic style in for a more Shaw inspired one and it makes for a riveting last half. The finale fully goes into some outrageous territory as both leads have to battle a vicious villain (one with fists and one with mind) and it's a fantastic watch. Martial arts fans will not be disappointed.
|Kicking it with Donnie Yen. Oh, I went there.|
Written By Matt Reifschneider
At this point, "Dragon" is only available via 'on demand' online watching or theaters. I'll post links once they announce a home video release.
Totally agree, it's definitely one of Donnie's best. Takeshi Kaneshiro is also great as the detective. They do reserve the action for the end, but like you say it's well worth the wait. And it's actually not much of a wait because the first part is highly engaging too, just in a different way.ReplyDelete
The subtle connections to the style of Shaw Bros wu xia is so well-done here, and even basing the film on the framework of History of Violence is something the Shaw Bros would do a lot of, so to me even that feels like a knowing reference in a way. I'm not usually overly impressed with recent HK stuff, but this one is just superb.