A patriotic Chinese cop is reposted to fictional East European country Lavernia as punishment for ignoring orders during a plane hijack operation. There he encounters his ex-girlfriend, who...
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A patriotic Chinese cop is reposted to fictional East European country Lavernia as punishment for ignoring orders during a plane hijack operation. There he encounters his ex-girlfriend, who fled to Lavernia after Tiananmen Square. Their paths soon tangle with the charismatic but evil leader of the Japanese cult Aum Shinryuu.Written by
Ever since SONY/Columbia/Tristar/(Disney)(silent partner) decided to release the Jackie Chan canon, it's become more and more clear that 1) they want a monopoly on redistributing Asian films on secondary markets (e.g. DVD); 2) they have no intention of allowing these films to go before an American audience without alterations; 3) they want to confuse Americans concerning the nature of these films by giving them spurious titles (most obviously "legend of this" or "legend of that" - almost none of these films have the word "legend" in their original titles).
Here's yet another example. This film is not and never claimed to be (in its original title) a sequel to the Jet Li film "Meltdown". Whereas "Meltdown" is really a very dark satire in the draping of an ultra-violent action film, the present film is a dramatic confrontation with a troubling event in Chinese history - the massacre in Tianemen Square; in fact it's the only Chinese film I can think of that explicitly addresses that terrible event; and the fact that the government allowed production of a film that admits the primary responsibility for the massacre was the government's - and that the government was mistaken - indicates that China has come a long way since Tianemen Square. But of course SONY/Columbia/Tristar/(Disney) doesn't think a film of this nature ought to be viewed with any sympathy, so they gave it a title and a promotion package sure to confuse - and disappoint- many American audiences.
On its own merits, the film is really quite good; the dramatic moments are well-handled and neatly performed. The action sequences - choreographed by the great Ching Siu Tung - are fast, high-impact, innovative. And they help move the plot along, they're not just tossed in to make this an action film. The dialog is just so-so, but the actors are determined to raise it above mediocre, and accomplish this in several key moments. The direction is solidly professional and we are left knowing that we have witnessed both a dramatic film AND an action film.
It's not the among China's best, but it is worthwhile entertainment on its own terms.
Hopefully SONY/Columbia/Tristar/(Disney) will one day realize that people who come to a film made in Asia want to see a film made in Asia, and not a re-interpreted "legend". However, there's still the hope for an anti-trust suit to break their bank....
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