Four employees of Island Fisheries come to a sun-scorched, isolated island to negotiate fishing rights with the sullen, paranoid islanders who have good reason to be afraid. Soon after the ... See full summary »
Szeto Ginyi is a young businessman recently returned to Hong Kong to open a branch of a Japanese company. He's been living in a hotel. To save money, he rents from the loquacious Baby - ... See full summary »
A beautiful Chinese girl, Meiling, has a forbidden love affair with a young American man in Singapore. He leaves Singapore and never returns. Meiling gives birth to their Eurasian daughter ... See full summary »
John (Gabriel HARRISON), a tobacco tycoon, and his assistant Dan (CHIANG Chi-kwong) are always looking for beautiful girls on the beach. John launches a model training company called "... See full summary »
His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao Zilong, 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 ... See full summary »
After a lethal American attack robot, RS1, is unleashed onto the mean streets of Hong Kong, Asia's funkiest crime-fighting team, the Gen-Y Cops, find themselves on the wrong side of the law... See full summary »
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)
Producer Bey Logan endured a strained relationship behind the scenes with director Daniel Lee, due to "business pressures" and metaphorically having "too many tigers on the mountain." In an interview with the Hong Kong Cinemagic website, Logan claims that on "the night of the premiere, I was so angry with everyone, I pretty much washed my hands of the film." See more »
High quality and stylish. A great action film
The anticipation I had for this film sparked a major interest in Asian cinema and for that reason alone, I am glad this film exists. On finally seeing Dragon Squad, it is obvious that is not one the best written or best acted films but it is a highly entertaining, fast paced and well directed action piece. Perhaps for me, this film was a victim to my own expectations.
Dragon Squad is immensely stylish and Daniel Lee does a tremendous job to grab the audience's attention via clever use of camera wizardry. In some scenes, he overdoes the slow motion and cut backs, but overall, he is extremely impressive. The way he integrates news report like flashes within the film is very clever in terms of pace as it saves on huge chunks of exposition to explain what is happening and characters' background. Whilst it is a fresh approach, I've always been in favour of setting the scene and character development. Lee would have done well to remember that these are the basics when it comes to a good plot.
With the exception of Petros (Michael Biehn) and Ching's (Li Bing Bing) story, the character stories are somewhat neglected and rushed. Sammo Hung's relationship with his daughter could have been explored much more and would have given good contrast to the bloodshed that was occurring elsewhere in the film. There was an attempt at background explanations for the 'Dragon Squad' and although they were good and went to some length to explain the characters, there was hardly any closure on the issues. The plot as a whole however, is very good. The tale two groups chasing one man for different reasons is very compelling and the way the groups interact with each other is very good. To put it one way, Dragon Squad has a great body but not quite enough bones to hold it all together.
Negativity aside, the action in the film is brilliant. Some of the best shootout scenes I've witnessed (and that's a lot!) are on this film; it is stunning to watch. Biehn, Shawn Yue and Maggie Q all really shine in these scenes. Their weapon handling is brilliant and they do a fantastic job of adding personality to the action scenes. The sniper battles are very good as they add tension and also means the action on the ground can flourish uninterrupted. Dragon Squad really sets itself above its peers with these scenes as it doesn't stray in to the realms of nonsense like Hard Boiled did and instead, tries to remain on a more realistic level.
The cast is somewhat mixed. Shawn Yue is very good in all of his scenes, he is likable and the scenes with his paralysed brother are very touching. The rest of the 'Dragon Squad' however, are all pretty bad. Vanness Wu in particular was extremely wooden and definitely should have stuck to doing pop songs. Sammo Hung was a much needed cast member. His movement in the fight scenes was very good and he certainly shone when compared to the main characters. Michael Biehn as the lead villain was excellent. These are the kind of roles he loves and really took this one by the reigns. Biehn makes his villain a sympathetic and likable one but is also totally ruthless. This is one of Biehn's best roles in years and he was a joy to watch; definitely the stand out performance. Maggie Q was slightly underused in this film but her role was the silent but deadly sniper so she fitted perfectly in to the requirements of the character. Simon Yam was also good in his small role as the chief of police. He adds another dimension to Hung's character and gives a very generous performance.
The music in the film is brilliant. The drum score is at the heart of Dragon Squad's atmosphere and it is so effective at putting the audience on edge. This is classic Hong Kong action music and the length of time this particular sound has lasted further shows how effective it is. There is extreme contrast within the music as on one hand there are these intense instrumentals and on the other, there are slow, emotional pop songs. Lee really uses music as part of the film and it is brilliant at heightening Dragon Squad's impact.
Overall, this is a very good film despite its many flaws. With a little more attention to character development, this could have been one of the year's best films. The director, however, focused more on action set pieces and these alone take the film to a very good level. Dragon Squad has quality stamped all over it and deserves much more recognition than it's been given.
6 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this