Jiu long bu bai (original title)
Director: Fruit Chan
Starring: Jin Zhang, Anderson Silva, Kevin Cheng, Suet Lam .Hong Kong. 1h 25m
The UFC is an absolute goldmine not only does it make super fighters, but it and generally if you can nurture a dynamic Hong Kong action movie with at least one big name you’ll take in cash.. But blend the two poorly and you’ll end up with this disjointed mess, that feels as if the producers knew what they wanted to do, but wrote any bull in to make it happen.
What starts as a really engaging crime thriller following a determined gun happy cop, Officer Kowloon (Jin) who opens the film boiling in a cooking pot, in a seedy backstory restaurant, Lam Suet taunting him as the two compare Dragon tattoos, fortunate that our hero has a better back story featuring an adorable (brightly coloured cgi) Dragon that he met as a child…after the bonding he shoots Lams hand off in a function room and gets suspended, this becomes a trend with Kowloon even while investigating a spate of murders targeting female police officers he manages to fudge the operation, not only letting the only suspect go, but losing his fiancee\fellow officer.
Retreating into a shadowy life of a steer urchin, life moves on, and yet the murders haven’t ended, the new officer of the case searched out, as his experience and keen eye can help break open the case and catch the killer at last. Or not, the film seems to go around in circles, chucking Kowloon on and off the case with a handful of comedy
Between travelling, visits to his alternative therapist and edgy confusing chats with professionals, our beloved cop chips at the case, finding nothing but dead ends. I’m sure you’re wondering where Anderson Silva is, and It turns out he runs an ultra modern gym in a high rise with a bungee ledge, that’s really important later on.
Luckily there’s a lot of action but unfortunately it all happens without a lot of reason, and the film just never comes together, it’s really unsure if it’s a crime thriller or violent action flick and each scene has a different flavour but you Can be assured it will be acted with total conviction no matter how bizarre.
Unless this random hijinks is your jam, you’ll find it hard to get through this epic mess in one go, the only reason I went back to the movie was to confirm the killer and motive, even though it’s made painfully obvious who it is, but the why is one really interesting point, another is the class of the action, it’s not quite SPL, but it does feel like an edge of Headshot with some classic string \cgi additions and at some point the Dragon returns in an uncalled for ridiculous scene but luckily it’s the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s nowhere near as punchy as any predecessors, and seemingly taking a leaf out of every Hong Kong movie and imitating them all in two hours doesn’t equal their greatness. Maybe there was an attempt to use Silva’s fame to boost sales, however this film won’t appeal to a majority of UFC fans so that feels like a waste of a resource, almost as if they wasted a couple of hours of my life…
Related: Three (2016), Kung Fu Killer (2014), Vengeance (2009), SPL 2 (2015)
Lists: Hong Kong Action 2019