Dragon Blade (3/10)

Dragon Blade

Overview

Huo An, the commander of the Protection Squad of the Western Regions, was framed by evil forces and becomes enslaved. On the other hand, a Roman general escapes to China after rescuing the Prince. The heroic duo meet in the Western Desert and a thrilling story unfolds.

Metadata
Title Dragon Blade
Director Daniel Lee
Director of Photography
Runtime Duration unknown
Certification
Release Date 19 February 2015
Tagline
IMDb Id tt3672840
Homepage
Trailer

The most expensive Chinese movie ever made, Dragon Blade cannot be accused of lacking ambition. The intent of the story is grand and some of the battle scenes are grander still.

I went into this movie with an open mind hoping for some spectacle as the scale has awe-inspiring potential. But blimey did they mess this up. The angle to the whole story is incredibly sappy… amplified by a painfully melodramatic score to ‘highlight’ all the emotional bonding that is going on when enemies become allies and Jackie Chan continues to fight for the common good… It’s all sweeter than Disney, including the most annoying little kid who should have been killed off to save the audience from its terrible acting, which goes from saccharine to whiny as the plot progresses. But all the roman soldiers are too busy singing their anthem at the Chinese with tears in their eyes as they bond through the Sound of Music…

And after all that sweetness seeping through in every scene, we find ourselves in some grand battle scenes where the director decided to change the tone a bit and all of a sudden it is ok to kill everyone off. Preferably with some random gruesomeness, highlighted by some terrible slo-mo scenes. I don’t know what they were thinking but just slowing down 24fps makes for awful slow-motion…

The fight scenes are really disappointing, both in choreography and in photography. There are some nice sweeping vistas in the grand battle scenes but generally the cinematography is an enormous missed opportunity in this movie. And the acting…. John Cusack is simply a weird choice to play a Roman centurion and he can’t pull it off. Jackie Chan is trying to be a serious actor in his role as leading the Silk Road Protection Squad, but the sappiness of the plot and poor photography of his action scenes don’t help the fact that he can’t quite carry the role of Charismatic Leader and Bringer of Peace Amongst All Races… The only saving grace is Adrien Brody who is the only credible one as the evil Tiberius.

Disappointing.

Dragon Blade (3/10)
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