This movie was recommended to us … but I don’t know if I would recommend this Chinese mega production to you guys.
When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road, Huo An and his group of trained warriors teams up with an elite legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius to maintain the delicate balance of power in the region. To protect his country and his new friends, Huo An gathers the warriors of thirty-six ethnic nations together to fight Tiberius in an incredible epic battle.
By reading this synapsis alone one could think this is gonna be epic, a cool battle with millions of extras and lotsa CGI and all the things that make movies great … and one would be wrong. That epic battle happens at the end of this 2 hours long flick, and is just the logical end to a build-up that took 1.5 hours before the end-battle started.
But let’s get into this flick and why it missed the mark so badly. At least for us it did. The whole premise of Dragon Blade is wrong and based on a purely speculative theory that Roman empire troops tried to invade China at the time around 50 B.C. Of course it’s bullshit. And with a great chance of this historic movie is nothing but fiction, its chance to get us interested in it was slim.
Then there are the actors, Jackie Chan first of all. He’s truly not a great actor but his films usually are amusing because of the action scenes and his humoristic style to do various stunts. Alas, he’s showing his age here and so the kung-fu fights are rather bland and not as perfectly choreographed as we know it from his earlier movies. The man is 66 y/o (61 at the filming of Dragon Blade) ffs, and we should be happy he’s not walking on crutches but still doing his own stunts.
The next disappointment was John Cusack, who acted like he really didn’t want to be in this Chinese movie. As an American this is understandable, his fellow Americans and his gov’mt could think he’s a commie now.
Refreshingly evil and fierce acting by nose-man Adrien Brody sadly wasn’t enough to drag this stuck vehicle out of the mud. Actually neither of this triumvirat had a chance to make Dragon Blade shine in any way; too dull was the direction by Daniel Lee, who orchestrated the whole flick like a propaganda movie for the new Silk Road that is built as we speak and connects China with the West. A good, a profitable undertaking for both sides.
Of course the American gov’mt won’t like it but they won’t hardly be able to do anything against it. And if Dragon Blade wasn’t so hamfisted geared towards propagating good stuff, they maybe wouldn’t even notice. But since this movie is such a dull tool its intention becomes very clear already pretty early on.
I just waited for the whole cast to start singing Kumbaya. =^.^=
CONCLUSION: This movie was badly all over the place, full of pathos, full of goodwill, with an comically evil western dictator and – since it’s a Jackie Chan vehicle – sprinkled with some inevitable sillyness and lots of cheese and cringe.
At least Dragon Blade was somehow entertaining … on some level. Its unapologetic earnest demeanour made us pity the effort that was put into its making.