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Rated 2.98 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Make Friends of Foes
by Betty Jo Tucker

Instead of war, make friends of foes.

Dragon Blade shows how that goes.

Set in China with Jackie Chan

as guard Huo An, a peaceful man,

assigned to keep The Silk Road free

of fights and war and thievery.       

 

50 B.C. is this filmís year.

Roman soldiers make Huo An fear.

But he befriends the leader man,

and they become each otherís fan.

John Cusack seems a bit miscast.

His Roman role wears thin too fast.

 

Yet his cast mates Brody and Chan --

Evil and Good -- nothing to pan.      

The movieís theme: make peace not war

is sound, of course, but battles soar

across the screen in bloody scenes.

So what is it this movie means?  

 

A confusing plot worsens things.

Yet I loved it when Jackie sings!

And his fight scenes are fun to see.

Heíll always be a star to me.  

Epic in scope is Dragon Blade --

but not the best film Chan has made.

Iíve always been a Jackie Chan fan. His unique Kung Fu clowning and masterful combining of comic timing with physical activity usually make the movies he appears in worth seeing despite any flaws in the rest of the production. While Dragon Blade fails to emphasize Chanís comedy talent, it showcases his dramatic acting ability. Thatís why some of his fans may be disappointed. Donít get me wrong. There are humorous sequences, especially when Chanís pacifist character has to fight someone. But the comedy definitely gets downplayed here -- and, frankly, seems a little out of place.

Inspired by true events in 50 B.C., Dragon Blade boasts plenty of action and gory battle scenes. Written and directed by Daniel Lee (Black Mask), it follows the efforts of Huo An (Chan), Captain of The Silk Road Protection Squad, to carry out his assignment when East and West collide over this important trade route. Huo An makes friends of Lucius (the usually wonderful John Cusack), a brave leader of defecting Roman soldiers. These two unite in trying to prevent Tiberius (Adrien Brody, oozing evil here), a menacing Roman consul, from taking over the area. And Huo also gathers warriors of many other ethnic nations to fight against Tiberius. The final battle goes on way too long, but itís quite visually exciting. Speaking of visual excitement, watch for Peng Lin who plays Cold Moon, one of Huo Anís faithful supporters. Sheís beautiful, charismatic and makes all the right moves.                               

Unfortunately, I had trouble following the rest of the plot. Too many flashbacks interrupt the flow of the story, and sometimes things start happening without rhyme or reason. However, I understand this sweeping, ambitious production was a big hit in China. And I believe many Jackie Chan fans will probably enjoy Dragon Blade.   

(Released by Lionsgate Premiere and rated ďRĒ for bloody violence.)

For more information about Dragon Blade, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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