Movie Review – Dragon (2011)

Directed by Peter Chan
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Original Release Date: 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: April 16, 2013


Don’t let the simple title of this film fool you: this is not a simplistic movie, nor does it deal with a scaly creature that breathes fire. In reality, this film is SO much more. Part action flick and part mystery, DRAGON ensnares you from the opening sequence and never lets go. With mind-bending fight scenes and an enthralling enigma, this is one film that you will not want to miss.

If you are not familiar with DRAGON, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Anchor Bay press release:

Liu Jin-xi is a village craftsman whose quiet life is irrevocably shattered by the arrival of two notorious gangsters in the local general store. When Liu single-handedly saves the shopkeeper’s life, he comes under investigation by detective Xu Bai-jiu. Convinced that Liu’s martial arts master belies a hidden history of training by one of the region’s vicious clans, Xu doggedly pursues the shy hero–and draws the attention of China’s criminal underworld in the process.

I have to confess that I liked DRAGON more than I was expecting to. Much more, in fact. I figured, after reading the plot synopsis, that I was going to enjoy it, but wow…it almost blew me away. The fight scenes are intense and unique, the plot is paced well and unravels the mystery perfectly, and the acting is great as well. You really can’t ask for much else.

Donnie Yen, the actor that portrays the main character, is a phenomenal talent on-screen and I always enjoy his work. In this particular role, we get to see his versatility as an actor; one minute he plays a daft paper-mill worker in the small village, but the next he’s playing a cool, calculating assassin. It’s truly inspiring to see his ability to shift gears like this.

DRAGON is shot very well and the action scenes are top-notch. But the story is what really wins the mark. There’s plenty of intrigue and emotional drama in this film, but it never bogs down. The pacing is perfect and the answer to the mystery of Liu’s background unfolds just as it should.

I highly recommend giving DRAGON a look. This film has a little something for everyone. If you like martial arts action, you’re in for a real treat; Donnie Yen choreographed the fight scenes, so they’re filled with adrenaline-fueled mayhem. And you if you enjoy a mystery, there’s enough intrigue here to make Sherlock Holmes proud. Do yourself a favor and check this one out for sure.


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