Coming to theaters and On Demand this week from writer/director Daniel Lee and Lionsgate along with producers Jackie Chan and Susanna Tsang is the telling of an epic battle tale from the ancient Silk Road with “Dragon Blade.”
It is the time of the Silk Road in history! Led by Huo An (Jackie Chan), the Silk Road Protection Squad do what they must to keep those who travel for trade safe from harm.
When his men are arrested for a crime they did not commit, no one will help them as they are sent away, exiled and sent to prison for life. Called Wild Geese Gate, the Squad is now reduced to the work of laborers building a city.
Arriving at the gates is Commanding General Lucius (John Cusack), a Roman seeking refuge with his young ward Publius (Jozef Waite). Greeted by Huo An who attempted to avoid fighting, Lucius makes it clear he wants inside the city and will fight to the death until mother nature steps in to decide for them both.
The Commander and Huo An begin to come to an understanding especially when the Roman discovers that Huo An and everyone in Wild Geese Gate is in danger of being killed. Given 15 days to complete building Lucius agrees to help asking for only one thing – a safe route for some men to the Pantheon Empire.
In the meantime construction begins as the Romans share their building prowess and the prisoners are given hope. Working together, these men of many cultures learn from one another and make possible the impossible.
But coming toward them is Tiberius (Adrien Brody), a Roman leader whose goal it is to claim the Silk Road and Wild Geese Gate is in their way. Lucius knows there is no other way than to take the Publius to safety. Huo An now realizes that what has sent the Silk Road Protection Squad to prison is connected to what Tiberius is doing.
A city will rise and friendships will be the key to saving them all.
Jackie Chan has once again brought a performance based on what he has excelled at – action and adventure wrapped up nicely in a period peace. Telling a story that is rich in history, it also rich in a culture that has been bringing amazing films to fans. Martial Arts are of course part of the film but it does not dominate.
Cusack as Commander Lucius is a quite man who has a story of his own to tell. Seen as an enemy to begin with, it becomes clear that doing what is right by everyone is truly the glory of this particular Roman. I enjoyed watching the relationship between Lucius and Huo An grow from respect and not fear. When Lucius tells Huo An “take me home” with the music in the background, welp, that’s a tear jerker moment.
Brody as Tiberius is vicious, cruel and has no conscious at all because that’s what happens when you are a power hungry crazed psychopath. What makes Brody good at it is his ability to look characters straight in the eye and say the words that drip with distain right before he cuts off an appendage!
Other cast include: Si Won Choi as Yin Po, Peng Lin as Cold Moon, Mika Wang as Xin Qing, Yang Xiao as Captain, Taili Wang as Rat, Tin Chiu Hung as Red Sun, Shaofeng Feng as General Qubing, Sharni Vinson as Lady Crassus, and Lorie Pester as the Parthian Queen.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Dragon Blade” four tubs of popcorn out of five. This film is filled with so much amazing talent, beautiful cinematography, costuming that is stellar and important in the story telling. Chan has proven once again that he is a force in film and I hope he continues to bring more!
Having become a fan in the last few years of films coming from Asia because of the amazing epic storytelling, cinematography, costuming and details – I am not surprised by the beauty that is “Dragon Blade”.
It is fast paced, full of action from start to finish, and a combination of different cultures of that region during the period. The characters are fascinating to watch and with the ensemble cast put together for this film there isn’t a single solitary moment I didn’t enjoy.
In the end — the East and West are about to collide!