Ooh! A new Donnie Yen movie! It’s like Christmas in October, only with a lot more subtitles and only marginally less gravity defying Kung Fu (I come from a weird family, ok?). Technically this one isn’t actually all that new as Dragon (also known as Wu Xia) already roundhouse kicked its way through the festival circuit more than a year ago, but it’s only getting an official international release now.
It co-stars another favourite of mine, Takeshi Kaneshiro (House of the Flying Daggers), and by all accounts plays out like the Kung Fu version of A History of Violence and I have no idea why you’re still bothering to read this text and haven’t clicked play yet after reading all of that.
Liu Jin-xi (Yen) is a village craftsman whose quiet life is irrevocably shattered by the arrival of two notorious gangsters in the local general store. When Liu single-handedly saves the shopkeeper’s life, he comes under investigation by detective Xu Bai-jiu (Kaneshiro). Convinced that Liu’s martial arts mastery belies a hidden history of training by one of the region’s vicious clans, Xu doggedly pursues the shy hero–and draws the attention of China’s criminal underworld in the process.
If you’ve never seen any of Yen’s Ip Man films, then you are simply doing yourself a grave injustice, as the man is arguably the most capable martial arts action star we’ve seen since the great Bruce Lee. Some would say even more so. And if you have seen his work, then chances are you’re not reading this but rather watching that trailer again as you drool on your keyboard in anticipation.
And while Kaneshiro may not have the pugilistic acumen of Yen, he is one the of the most versatile and just plain coolest actors in Asian cinema. I’ve been a fan of his ever since watching his super-slick 2002 time-travel action adventure Returner, which is highly recommended viewing.
Together Kaneshiro and Yen appear to bringing a good balance of brain and brawn to this tale, and it looks like director Peter Chan, who also directed Kaneshiro in the sprawling war time epic, Warlords, knows exactly how to play to their strengths.
The film will see a limited release in November 30, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a local cinema release, but this is probably going to end up punching its way into my Blu Ray collection.
Last Updated: October 18, 2012