Not to be confused with the late David Carradines movie, this Chinese ‘Kung Fu Fighting Flick’ stars Donnie Yen as (again) a surly faced martial arts hero who literally kicks butt and figuratively sucks lemons.
Directed by Teddy Chan, I watched with an open mind despite feeling a bit let down by Donnie’s Special ID (click here to see our review on that). What I found here was an excellent story with great martial arts.
The theme is an old one but adapted to cater for a modern audience with enough twists to keep you interested. It follows Donnie Yens character Hahou Mo, a highly skilled but passive Martial Arts master who used to coach the local cops. He gets thrown in jail for killing a guy by accident following a duel. (They keep pushing the by accident part, I guess to keep audience on the side of a man who is essentially a killer) As it is, it works. I found myself in the rare position of caring for the character and being drawn in to the films story hoping that he comes out alright. This is NOT a prison flick. Hahou Mo manages to get out of jail to help police track down a serial killer, so most of the action is out and about.
The martial arts are traditional based and cover a range of styles. This is relevant to the story. It’s crisp and not too over the top. CGI/wire work is done well with nothing too obvious except for a section of the end fight that almost ruined the film for me. Remember The Mummy 2 when they CGI’d The Rock? Well, there is a groan inducing CGI moment in here too but thankfully 95% of the rest of the film can allow you to overlook it.
It was a buy that I haven’t regretted.