A cop is assigned to a case of escorting a criminal to Japan while dealing with relationship problems, and his enormous change in appearance as a result of being dumped.A cop is assigned to a case of escorting a criminal to Japan while dealing with relationship problems, and his enormous change in appearance as a result of being dumped.A cop is assigned to a case of escorting a criminal to Japan while dealing with relationship problems, and his enormous change in appearance as a result of being dumped.
In 2015, Donnie Yen made a pillow commercial where he battles a fatter version of himself racing downstairs to greet his wife before she comes home. The regular Donnie Yen and fat Donnie Ten fight, throwing things around the house and do semi-kung fu stuff. That gag from that pillow commercial is the impetus for Enter The Fat Dragon, which borrows both its English and Chinese title from a 1978 Sammo Hung Bruceploitation parody but bears no relation to it.
The obesity shown in the film is rather inoffensive as the issue is never brought up or explored as a serious subject in any detail. I didn't recall anything mean-spirited about being overweight throughout the movie. The fact that Donnie Yen is over 200 pounds has seemingly no effect on his fighting abilities. He doesn't run out of breath and can still punch and kick just as powerfully and can even leap very high and scale lampposts at will.
There are no jokes. That's perhaps the best and worst thing about how the filmmakers have chosen to deal with obesity as a subject depending on how you look at it. It's inoffensive and won't trigger anybody woke (at least I hope) but there's no attempt at making any laughs at all. It doesn't have to anything masterful like how the Farrelly Brothers make comedy out of the handicapped by having us laugh with them as opposed to at them, but an attempt should be made. The fatsuit chalks down to being just a visual gimmick, as in "Hey kids, watch Donnie Yen fight in a fat suit!"
The fight choreography features the best martial arts modern action choreography in a Donnie Yen movie I've seen in a while. The modern-day kickboxing or mixed martial arts choreography is and always has been Donnie Yen's forté, despite what the success of the more popular Ip Man movies say. While the traditional kung fu choreography is great, Ip Man is a peaceful character by nature and is always holding back in a fight. I prefer Donnie Yen being able to let loose and unleash explosive power into his punches and kicks like he did in SPL or Flashpoint (this film directly references both films and makes a joke out of it, of which I laughed twice) and really beat seven bells out of somebody. That does happen in Enter The Fat Dragon, not to the level of physical cruelty that's shown in SPL or Flashpoint, but as hard-hitting as a Lunar Year comedy will allow within good taste.
Something I love is that this film showcases Donnie Yen's kicking ability once again, something that used to be his trademark but that was forgotten after the success of Ip Man. I also wished they could have cast a martial arts actor to have a good fight with Donnie Yen. Maybe Yen's already beaten them all up already. Who knows?
The story never truly takes off. The kernels are all there but the story never wants to commit to any kind of negative emotion that can pertain to any kind of conflict. That's often a common thing in Lunar Year films that I don't condone. Donnie Yen's character is so okay with everything that nothing conflicting ever seems to be happening to him or within him. Whether Niki Chow's Chloe is with him or broken up with him, he just smiles through it. So the story feels like it is just going through the motions and after a while, the Wong Jing and Teresa romantic subplot in Japan takes over the whole movie. It was weird that a subplot with Wong Jing as a romantic lead was taking over the movie and my mind resuscitated by going into a regressive daze. The kind of daze where you chose to watch a movie on TV and it was just entertaining enough for you not to change the channel. Then the fights would happen and it would jolt me awake again. That about sums up my viewing experience.
All and all, Enter The Fat Dragon is a decent time at the cinema during the Lunar Year slot. The bar for Hong Kong Lunar Year films has been so low for the last two decades that I don't know if I'm accepting the low standards as my own standards by saying this movie was great for a Lunar Year movie. If I'm rating it like a normal film, which I will, I'd say Enter The Fat Dragon is middling. I had an okay time with it once but probably won't see it again. If I saw it again on Netflix, I'd probably just skip to the fights.
- Sep 7, 2020