Director: Daniel Lee
Cast: Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody, John Cusack
'Dragon Blade' seems like an interesting project at the onset – a Jackie Chan movie, that is set in a historical backdrop, with big name Hollywood stars like Adrien Brody and John Cusack playing Romans.
Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Daniel Lee, 'Dragon Blade' is the kind of movie that you want to watch with your friends while playing a drinking game. Every time something cheesy or unintentionally funny happens in the film, you take a shot, and you'll end up sloshed in a matter of fifteen minutes. It's almost in the 'so bad it's entertaining' category of films, and certainly worth a recco if you love to laugh over terrible films you've seen in life.
This film is like '300' set in China, where a bunch of Romans find themselves lost in Chinese territory and battle for survival on the Silk Road. An earlier scene, set in the present shows a couple of archaeologists discovering a lost city, and the film whooshes us into the past glory of the said city when it was ruled by the Han dynasty. Jackie Chan plays Huo, the leader of the Silk Road Protection Squad but here is when things get ridiculous. Huo, who is already married has to get married to another woman whose veil he accidentally raises, after which he is banished from the kingdom and forced to work as a labourer. Somehow he ends up helping a Roman warrior (Cusack) lost in the kingdom and prepares for battle with the warrior's brother (Brody) who has a huge army behind him.
That plot is inherently fun but there's neither any slicing and dicing from '300' nor is it visually appealing. What the film has is a large dosage of bad acting and incredibly hammy Chinese national pride in the name of entertainment. After all this is a Chinese movie made by the Chinese for the Chinese market. And it seems like Brody and Cusack are aware of the Chinese movie market beating Hollywood in a matter of ten years. The drama in the film is atrocious to say the least, and the dialogue baazi found here equals some of the heavy-handed Bollywood stuff we get to see here. It's kind of fascinating to watch really, because you get to witness the birth of a new kind of cinema, the Chinese War Epic that will eventually catch up with Hollywood's superhero films in the near future.