I really like Jackie Chan, I’ve loved his movies ever since I was small. I’d even go as far to say that I’m generally blind to even his bad movies, seeing some good in them. I wish I could say the same about Dragon Blade…but that would be a lie.
There’s no getting round the fact that this is a bad movie. Jackie Chan plays Huo An, who is the leader of the Silk Road Protection Squad, who seem to be a very small squad protecting the whole of the Silk Road.
Beyond that I’d like to tell you what the story is about but I’m not sure I can. There’s an annoying child – Publius – The Roman Prince (Jozef Waite) who is supposed to be Tiberius’s (Adrien Brody) younger brother only he’s obviously Chinese. Tiberius tries to kill his brother, fails and Lucius (John Cusack) takes the young Prince away and becomes a fugitive along with some other Roman soldiers.
Then there’s a whole protracted thing about some armour, a city, Romans, Huns and god knows who else (there’s supposed to be 36 nations though you don’t see anywhere near that number) that are all fighting but peaceful Huo An is trying to bring them all together.
It’s just a mess, writer and director Daniel Lee (14 Blades, White Vengeance) makes a hash of the dialogue, the direction is slow and laboured, using far too many flashbacks (I’m sure we get flashbacks within flashbacks at one point) and slow-motion sequences for seemingly no reason.
The acting is what saves the movie, and the fact we get to see some classic Jackie Chan co-stars too. Chan is great as Huo An although his unwillingness to kill anyone on screen in the larger fights scenes is a bit redundant these days.
But it’s Brody that steals the show with this. His depiction of the deranged Tiberius, a man who’s killed his father and younger brother, is outstanding. The way he flips from quite psycho to animated general is a delight. It makes you wonder why we haven’t seen him in these roles before, I certainly hope we will again.
At over two hours run time this is an unnecessarily long movie. I didn’t go in expecting all action or even classic JC action and I suggest you don’t either or you’ll be even more disappointed. I expected a good film with good actors allowed to do their thing. Not hammy dialogue, scenes that can only be described as cheesy and singing (not quite Bollywood but almost).