Dragon Blade (Region 3 DVD / Non USA Region) (English Subtitled) Jackie Chan
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Language: Mandarin / Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese / Synopsis: Dragon Blade is a story set in 48BC during the Han Dynasty. Huo An (played by Jackie Chan), the Commander of the Protection Squad of the Western Regions, who protects China’s border and secures peace among warring tribes on the Silk Road. When a convoy of gold bearing a foreign insignia is discovered inside China, he is accused of treason and sent to the border as a slave laborer. With only a small group of his most loyal soldiers, including his right hand man, Yin Po (played by Choi Siwon), he must fight to survive in the prison camp. When a small army of Roman soldiers led by General Lucius (played by John Cusack) appears at the border gate, they outmatch the Chinese border guards. However when Huo An enters the battle, he single-handedly turns it around and earns the respect of Lucius. Among the Romans is a blind boy called Publius, the youngest son of Rome’s Consul Crassus. Crassus was assassinated by his ambitious eldest son, Tiberius (played by Adrien Brody), who is leading 100,000 soldiers towards the border gate, employing subterfuge to kidnap Lucius. This leads to a thrilling piece of history that has never before been told.
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Jackie Chan's powerful performance showcases his wide range of acting abilities. At the beginning he entertains us with martial arts and comedy but as the story unfolds, his role becomes dramatic and Jackie makes the transition with subtlety. Once again he proves that he is not just an action star, but also a very fine, accomplished drama actor.
John Cusack rates high and Adrian Brody impresses with his portrayal of Tibeirus, a sadistic and corrupt Roman Emperor.
In 2015 an American archaeological company bought military manuscript from the Hun Dynasty, which said that Roman soldiers went to China about 2,000 years ago and built a city called Regum. The company believed that the manuscript is fake, but set on a journey to investigate. Two of its stuff found Regum. Among the ruins they discovered a monument with detailed inscription which as they read, fades into the main story.
China in 48 BC. Jackie Chan is Huo An, a Hun, serving as the captain of the Protection Squad Silk Road.
John Cusack is Lucius, a Roman general, who flees to the east with his legion and Publius, a heir of the ruling Roman Consul. They run for their lives from the Emperor Tiberius. At the frontier fort on Silk Road they meet Huo An. The legion helps finish construction of the fort.
In the mean time Tiberius and his army, who have pursued Lucius along the Silk Road, approaches the fort with intend to capture and control the Silk Road. An epic battle begins, which ends with dramatic & deadly one-on-one combat.
Back in the present, the two archaeologists are deeply moved by the story and have to make decision.
I envy my American friends for the priviledge they have to simply pop up to the nearest cinema and experience Jackie Chan's magic! Go and see it. A chance in a life time!
And for the most part it was. It was overacted, the plot was ridiculous, the action cool but typical of a Chinese war epic. And it had John Cusack trading scenes with Adrian Brody who was so over the top as the villain he might as well have had a mustache to twist evilly.
It was great.
First, there's some real heart in the film, both in the way Jackie Chan puts everything he has into the role and how the production does everything it can to overcome a bad screenplay. I'm a fan of Cusack, but half the time he looks completely bored - but then that's kind of his style. It works in most roles but here it comes across as detached. Brody is just completely nonbelievable as the requisite villain, he's almost trying too hard to put as much venom into every line and stare daggers and sneer at everything. But this is typical of most Asian action movies, so it's a little forgiveable.
The fight scenes fall into two categories - the one on one (or small group) battles which are forgettable, and then the full army scenes which are magnificent, especially at the end of the film. The cinematography of the battles show lessons have been learned and lessons can be taight from this film on how to film an ancient battle.
Finally, there is the music, which is exquisite. A mix of Eastern, West Asia, and Mediterranean styles which match perfectly. One song in particular that gave me chills was "Light of Rome". Listen to it on Youtube. It's beautiful, and in the context of the movie (which I won't spoil here) it works perfectly.
Overall, I don't think this is an amazing movie, but it is a movie that I was surprised to discover how much I liked it and how it turned out much better than I expected. I plan to buy it at some point and enjoy it on a much larger screen than the one I used on the back of an airplane chair.