Peter Chan’s Martial Arts themed action thriller proves there’s not just plenty of life remaining in the genre, but long established star Donnie Yen is more than willing to tackle a mature and edgier concept in his films! Of course, this isn’t new information for fans who’ve watched him obliterate villains and lay on the drama (in equal measure) in favourites like S.P.L, Ip Man 1 & 2 and Legend of the Fist. But still, it’s a great reminder. Some even commented that Dragons marks one of his all-time best performances!
In Dragon (aka Wu Xia), Peter Chan directs this Hong Kong martial arts drama that sees an incredibly scrupulous detective on the trail of a former criminal who has attempted to start a new life. Set in 1917, the film finds Liu Jinxi (Donnie Yen) and his wife Ayu (Wei Tang) living quietly in a small village. Their sense of tranquillity is disrupted when a pair of robbers descend on the local store and Liu’s intervention results in their death. Detective Xu Baijiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro), a man so faithfully attached to the law he values it above human life, arrives in the village to investigate and is immediately suspicious of Liu. How could an ordinary villager possess the skills to overcome two hardened criminals? The assiduous detective begins an investigation into Liu’s past, threatening to uncover his identity as a retired martial arts expert and lead his many enemies to his door…
For those who favour a mature, decidedly more grown up delivery of Martial Arts action, Dragon delivers the goods and reaffirms Yen’s role as one of the best in the business and someone who constantly redefines himself. You can find out more about his insights and experiences in the business from my interview with him here!
Dragon is available on DVD now from Metrodome Distribution. You can order it here