His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao, a common man heeds the call of duty and from the humblest of roots rises through the ranks on wings of courage and cunning to command an army ... See full summary »
Billy Ray Lansing, a former covert agent turned survivalist, discovers that the foster program he is using to help a young girl is actually a human trafficking network. Lancing heads overseas to find the girl and shut down the operation.
A team of young Interpol agents arrive in Hong Kong to give testimony at the trial of local crime lord 'Puma' Duen. Among them are American agent Andy Hui, Taiwanese cop Vanness Chang, and local lawman Lok. They are greeted by Hong Kong police commander Hon Sun. The heavily armed convoy taking Puma to court is attacked by a ruthless team of North Korean agents, led by international terrorist Petros Davinci. Petros is seeking revenge for his brother in arms, who was killed by Puma and his brother, 'Tiger' Duen. At Petros' side is his fierce enforcer, Ko, and a lethal lady sniper, Song. After Puma is snatched, the Interpol team insists on tracking down Petros themselves. Hon Sun rejects their request and places the team in the care of veteran police officer Kong Long. A burned out cop who has never come to terms with either his personal or professional history, Long Kong is reluctant to get involved. Finally, inspired by his young charges, he rises to the occasion, and leads the ... Written by
Bey Logan (as sent to MB official fan club)
I've seen Chinese take-out menus that were more exciting
At the end of "Dragon Heat," all I could think of was why I bothered sitting through the whole thing.
The film's premise is interesting and that - as well as Maggie Q - is what attracted me to the film in the first place. But was I ever disappointed. Writer-director Daniel Lee can't hold a candle to the likes of John Woo, Ringo Lam and Corey Yuen.
This has to be one of the most annoyingly-directed films I have ever seen. Lee is so wrapped up in his visual style - and I use that phrase incredibly loosely - that he fills the film with completely needless black-and-white stills, freeze frames, slow-motion, fast-motion and other visual nonsense. I suppose he did all that to make up for the lack of a good story or dialogue.
The action scenes are nothing special and play out like some hopped-up music video more than anything else. There is little to care about any of the characters - including two supposedly professional snipers who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside! - who are then laden with some of the cheesiest dialogue I have seen in one of these Hong Kong actioners.
The plot is devoid of any twists and turns - from the initial set-up, everything unfolds in predictable fashion - and Lee feels the need to keep reminding us of the characters' back stories in case we didn't get it the first several times. This is awfully amateurish writing and film-making and wastes the talents of Sammo Hung, Michael Biehn and Maggie Q. Though, to be frank, I am hard-pressed to remember Biehn being in any good film that was not directed by James Cameron.
If you really are in the mood for a great Hong Kong actioner, you are much better off sticking to some of the staples - John Woo's "The Killer" (1989) and "Hard-Boiled" (1992), Ringo Lam's "City on Fire" (1987) - which Quentin Tarantino stole for "Reservoir Dogs" (1992) - or his "Point Blank" (1967) remake, "Full Contact" (1992). Or, even check out Yuen's "So Close" (2002), a supremely entertaining, yet preposterous, popcorn flick. And there's always the terrific French police actioner, "The Nest" (2002).
True, most, if not all, are a bit over-the-top, but they were films that remain exciting, thrilling and even suspenseful. They have characters we care about and mind-blowing action sequences.
"Dragon Heat," on the other hand, is just terribly mediocre. The trouble is that Lee has not made a bad action film, he has made a dull one.
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