Sunday, 30 August 2015

CHINESE FILM REVIEW: DRAGON BLADE 3D


4/5

It is 48 BC and Huo An is a disgraced head of so-called SILK ROAD PROTECTION SQUAD. As brave as he is kind hearted, he fights for the benefits of the others. When faced with Roman General and his squad, escaping Rome after a coup, he lets them into the GOOSE GATE, a ruined fortress he is forced to rebuilt as a punishment for a crime he did not commit. Here he makes a great friend in the face of Lucius (John Cusack). Together they work hard to rebuild the city. But the Roman legion, led by villainous Tiberius (Adrian Brody), approaches the GOOSE GATE. Will a handful of warriors be able to stand against the army of Rome?

The correct translation of the movie is “CELESTIAL GENERAL, HEROIC ARMY”, it is more suitable name to this giant epic deserving an IMAX screen. The enjoyment of DRAGON BLADE requires total suspension of disbelief. One of the characters calls the story of Huo An “an engrossing fairy tale” and this is exactly what it is. If you want a historical movie - look elsewhere. But if you love good conflicts, some great good acting and impressive battle scenes   - DRAGON BLADE is your sort of a movie.

Jon Cusack and Adrian Brody are English speaking Romans, but as believable as it could possibly be.  Both characters are charged with charisma, which gives in particular Adrian Brody’s villain an unexpected depth.

DRAGON BLADE is a perfect adventure movie. It is long, its impressive, and it is never boring. Jackie Chan as Hua An, a kind hearted but tough protagonist, seem to slip into his character, like into a well worn shoes - it is not easy to portrait an innocence of a middle age warrior and be believable in the role.

On the down side, the films message of how we all have to try to understand each other to end all wars, is harshly and relatedly pushed down our throats.

DRAGON BLADE has many attributes of a family movie, but on the other hand it is full of bloody violence (not the type we see on GAME OF THRONES, but still). Many choreographic and singing moments in the film are welcome, but there are plenty of flashbacks to them - which can get tiresome. While I did not mind the movies lengthy screen time, but they could have cut out a fifteen minutes or so to speed up the action.


Overall DRAGON BLADE does not need to prove anyone anything. With 65 million budged it did double in china alone and only opens in America in September. This is a fantasy epic Chinese style,  and can be compared to the final in THE HOBBIT trilogy: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. With brilliant cinematography and larger than life story telling, it is one film from China not to be missed this year.

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