Dragon Blade opens with an aerial shot capturing the grand expanse of the Silk Road, accompanied by a booming drum-fuelled military number, setting the scene for a film full of suspense and action.
The main theme here is cross-cultural communication and friendship, with a surprisingly moral tone in-between all the guts spilling and blood spewing. Huo An (Jackie Chan) takes in some defected Roman soldiers (lead by John Cusack) during a sandstorm. He teaches them not to seek revenge, instead urging them to work together to rebuild the wall to the Silk Road.
Although slow to take off, there are some engaging twists in the story. A particular highlight is a dance-off between Chinese and Roman soldiers. Choreographed to perfection, this combat sequence offers a captivating viewing experience.
However, these impressive action scenes come at the expense of the film’s dialogue, which certainly leaves something to be desired and is slow moving at times. While not quite painful, it often seems like filler between the violence.
While Chan’s fighting prowess cannot be faulted, an initial fight scene between him character and a female Chinese warrior (Lin Peng) unfortunately highlights her superior acting. Perhaps it is his overfamiliarity with the action-comedy genre that affects his performance, as his delivery of some of the most emotional lines in the film comes across as more cliché than heroic.
Getting more giggles than gasps from the audience, Dragon Blade might not go down in cinematic history, but its stunning visuals make it worth watching nonetheless. While a historian may raise his eyebrows at a few scenes, this remains an uplifting film, full of camaraderie.
Dragon Blade is released nationwide on 15th January 2016.
Watch the trailer for Dragon Blade here: