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This movie has everything. There is a giant mechanical ox, a steam train derailment, and a cargo bi-plane. Well, not everything, there is no car chase.
Jet Li fights a giant mutant rat, sumo wrestlers, ninjas and an assortment of other villains. His weapon of choice is his pen. The climactic battle with swordy, whippy firey things makes light sabers look pretty darn puny. However, these fights are not meant to be taken seriously. They are blatantly wired and sped up but it is all in fun.
Besides looking extremely cool, this is a very funny film (I am a sucker for heroes in drag) with a sweet ending. It is about a writer with seven episodes to go in a 100 episode serial who is blocked because his wife is leaving him. The serial is about the King of Adventurers and the film alternates between the "real" world and the serial. The writer, his two assistants, and his estranged wife all have a hand in writing the final episodes and the allegiances and motivations of the characters in the story shift depending on who is writing. Characters in the serial are portrayed by acquaintances of the writer from the "real" world, for instance, his wife's divorce lawyer is a baddy and the guy she seems to be dating is the arch-villain.
About two thirds or more of the film takes place in the serial world where the King of Adventurers (Li) is trying to locate the ancient Scripture Without Words before the Japanese do. The Scripture has been separated from its box and opening the box is somewhat reminiscent of opening the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders.
I haven't mentioned the acting because I don't notice it unless it is excruciatingly bad and that doesn't apply here. Unlike Van Damme and Seagal, for instance, Li is a perfectly respectable actor. The other leads are also perfectly fine.
This is the film they should have dubbed for the big screen here in the US instead of Black Mask. I enjoyed Black Mask but it is no Dr. Wei.
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