This action movie starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Adrien Brody is beautiful to look at, but suffers from choppy editing and a weak plot.
This is a movie I really wished I would enjoy. A bunch of roman soldiers led by General Lucius(Cusack) ends up in China where they have to ally themselves with the protector of the silk road General Huo An (Chan) to defeat the corrupt Roman general Tiberius(Brody).
Let us begin with the positive parts. Jackie Chan himself serves as the Action Director, and that is something he really knows, the fight scenes of Dragon Blade is beautifully choreographed and is quite frankly the only decent thing to look at. Jackie Chan’s portrayal as the chinese general also shows that he is a very good actor and that he can play more than funny idiot on-screen. Huo is emotional, powerful and one of the best characters Chan has ever done on-screen.
Daniel Lee is the writer and director of this movie and he is sadly not good at either of them, the story is garbage and the directing shows a director who does not have faith in his own script.
The mise-en-scene of this film is beautiful. set in the Chinese desert with beautiful hair/make up and costume it is a visual experience to look at, and combined with the beautiful action sequences the visual parts are good enough to justify a watch.
The same cannot be said about John Cusack and Adrien Brody. I have not been a fan of any of them earlier, but their acting in this film is simply atrocious The Western characters lack characterization or personality. They feel like the exact same character.
The editing of Dragon Blade feels choppy and the way the film shifts tones all the time and the film does not really manage to capture a personality because of it. Tony Cheungs cinematography feels sloppy except during the action sequences. and the two-hour and seven minute movie feels like an eternity because of it.
Luckily there is enough epic fight scenes to save Dragon Blade from a total disaster, and the acting of Jackie Chan is always fun to look at, I just really wish that this movie would be good. There is a whole lot of unused potential for something epic here but ends up as a disappointment like The Great Wall