Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and www.action-flix.com readers. Today I take one for the team after obtaining Invincible Dragon. After so much promotion on this film during production from various action sites including my own site, I had to watch. The film released in China theatrically on July 2nd and to home market in Asia August 30th.
Rather than going on a long rant and rave about this film, I am keeping the review rather short. Essentially The Invincible Dragon begins as a basic crime drama as women police officers are killed. Actually the initial story is decent, there is some character development, hotheaded cop, concerned boss, etc..., yet the film never manages to allow the audience to care about the characters enough.
Anderson Silva is of course a legendary MMA fighter and all around great guy, but to have him as a lead in his first film is a bit rough, his line delivery is very understated and a bit wooden, that said, he is no worse than many of the secondary characters in the film.
Actresses Stephy Tang and Annie Liu give the film some sex appeal and are decent, yet again they are just side characters in most of the production, save for a few lines. Stephy Tang can act, and has talent she really needed more of a meaty role.
Director Fruit Chan, who is actually quite talented obviously did not have final control of the edit of this film as during the last 30 minutes things go haywire literally and makes zero sense. For the first hour the film is decent, then it tails off due to a long song that basically contains a montage of things that happened in the past, where it should have either opened the film or no song and just went into a story. Finally, a ridiculous ending with very horrid CGI, that made no sense, yeah so we have the boy with the dragon tattoo hah!! Except Zhang's dragon is um, not just an expression.
A few bright spots are JuJu Chan, she plays the wife of Anderson Silva in the film, she is mysterious and turns out to be a cool villain and has the best fight in the film with Zhang Jin, on a train, with what looks to be scaffolding. Sadly the bad train CGI interspersed with the fight lessened the impact a bit.
Zhang Jin is amazing as an action actor, I really enjoy his work. He did his best with the source material, yet some of the action and fights did not have the urgency they should have and the final fight with Anderson Silva is way too long, yep I said it, needed to be shortened. The reason being, it was not epic, had too much interspersed stoppage time, and it seems like posing for the next move rather than a real fight to the death.
Lighting, camera work is good in the non action sequences as Fruit Chan is a master at drama, that said, I did not care for the camera angles during the fight sequences, either the camera was far to close or the angles did not allow the audience to see the action.
Overall, I really wanted to like this film, as I respect Fruit Chan and many of the actors in it, sadly I cannot recommend Invincible Dragon at all, and as a rating perhaps, being kind as I feel today, is a 4 out of 10. If the film eventually finds it's way to Netflix and you like action, watch it for JuJu's fight scene and some of the other action, but otherwise The Invincible Dragon is a forgettable film that will probably deserve to fade away.