Movie Review: Dragon Blade is a confluence of West and East

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Genre: Historical fiction, Action, Drama, Adventure

Starring: Jackie Chan, John Cussack, Adrien Brody

Director: Daniel Lee

The Silk Route, extending 4000 miles, has served as a means of carrying out cultural trade between civilizations, spanning across its routes connecting the West and the East, by linking not only traders, merchants, pilgrims and monks, but also soldiers. The movie ‘Dragon Blade 3D’, has tried to showcase the distinctiveness of and the similarities between the West and the East’, through the lens of modified and distorted history. It is a mix of ‘Gladiator’ and ‘300’, with historical distortion being borrowed from the former and the electrifying action elements from the latter.

It has always been the hallmark of Chinese movies made for the global audience, to showcase the strength of its tradition and culture. Unlike all the ‘Another Shaw Production’ movies, which present the Chinese martial arts as the epicenter to emphasize Chinese Philosophy, Dragon Blade 3D portrays the Chinese ‘rich’ culture through compassion and candidness.

The movie shows the appreciation of the western culture in the east in aspects of art of war, music and architecture and vice versa. There are moments of retrospection as well and weaknesses of both cultures are displayed through instances of backbiting, deceit and greed.

The movie has a prologue set in the present where two archeologists discover the lost city ‘Regum’, built by Romans during an expedition to China. The movie then takes us back to 48 BC, when Emperor Xuan of Han dynasty was ruling China. Huo An (Jackie Chan), an orphan raised by the peace loving Han Chinese General Huo Qubing (William Feng Shaofeng) is the one who has been given the responsibility to lead the silk Route protection squad to guard the silk route from the combats between 36 Tribal groups fighting for domination. With the turn of events, the whole protection squad ends up in exile at the Wild Geese Gate and work as laborers on repairing a fort city. Here, Huo An meets the Roman General ‘Lucius’ (Cusak), who has fled Rome with the true inheritor of throne Publius (Joey Jozef), and become aids to each other.

Then, the movie entertains us in Bollywood style, as it showcases the struggles of the hero against Tiberius (Brody), the Roman emperor who has killed his father and blinded Publius to accede the throne. Whether it is the earnest speech that Hua An delivers to the fighting tribes to unite against the evil, the sacrifices for friends, treachery to one’s own people, patriotism, earnestness in duty to one’s king, the sudden turn of climax in favor of goodness from the evil, the movie is full of all the emotions, drama, twists and turns. The movie also tries to set a romantic angle as Jackie Chan is loved and admired by his wife and another warrior, Cold Moon (Lin Peng).

Chan, who has directed the action sequences, has done justice to the job. The fight sequences and the sword fights are engrossing like that of the movie ‘Troy’, without being too bloody as in ‘300’. The flow of the movie is good with keeping the audience interested by twists and turns of events and fabulous cinematography. All the sets have been beautifully created, be it Rome or the Chinese Cities or the Silk Route.

The “3D” angle was needless as it didn’t provide any depth or added any value to the movie experience. All the actors played their roles well with Jackie Chan, Cussak and Brody taking the maximum screen space. The movie has a few negatives like Jackie Chan is looking too tired in a few sequences, overacting by Brody and too much of bromance between Jackie Chan and Cussak. Neglecting these aspects, Dragon Blade 3D is an entertaining Chinese production for everyone to watch.

Rating – 3/5

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