Tuesday, September 29, 2015

[Movie] Enchantingly dull 'Dragon Blade'

Released on February 2015, I wanted to write about it almost immediately because I was captivated. In case you doesn't know, China is notorious for its some of its strange laws. One of it is the banning of 'time travel'. Meaning China doesn't allow any 'what if' ideas, particularly in films and TV shows, and especially if 'the history' are changed.

So this movie kind of a big deal, well at least to me. But due to mixed review received by this film, I decided to wait out so that I could write about this film impartially. Its not really a secret that this film may or may not have propaganda embedded into it. At least, that how it looks like to some people. To me, the film did get a little bit too cheesy when reaching the climax point.

But, whatever. I don't watch film to be brainwashed. To me, it's all entertainment. So let get back to the film and taste the cheesiness. Cheese number one, Jackie Chan. I'm a life long fan of Jackie Chan. Whenever Jackie is in a film, it all kung-fu and comic reaction.

But even Jackie couldn't offset the dullness of this film. The story revolves around a myth that may or may not related to a real history. It was set on during the period of Silk Road, where Huo An (Jackie Chan) served as the captain of Silk Road Protection Squad near western borders of Ancient China. His squad was employed to keep peace around the area and enforce the rule of the Chinese Empire.

The plot revolves around the possible contact made by the Roman Republic with the Chinese Empire that lead to the founding of an ancient city name 'Regvm' (or Regum). I don't whether this is true or not, not but some people said that the city might be known nowadays as the defunct county of Liqian. At any case, the plot is as clear as broad daylight. Its about the relationship between the West and East.

Nice blade. But you need shovel, pickaxe and a large crane for construction work.
One thing lead to another, Huo An was accused of money laundering. A convoy carrying boxes full of gold coins was found near the border with a custom clearance document, approved by the Silk Road Protection Squad. As the captain, obviously Huo An had to take the fall. He and his men were sentenced to construction work in Goose Gate under the charge of smuggling gold out of the country.

Doesn't seem like a harsh of a sentence, because all they have to do is do construction work, except the construction work involves of building an entire city. With walls. They might as well building a freaking pyramid. So technically its a life sentence and an exile.

To make matter worse, the work camps consist of people from different nationality, and all are at each others throat. Uighurs, Huns, Indians, Chinese, and Turkics, treats each other with extreme prejudice. Good thing this is exactly what Huo An do for a living, bringing them all together peacefully and agreeably. In a very cheesy way, but at least they all cooperate together for common goals.

But when matter couldn't get any worse, it got worse. A Roman legion lead by Lucius (John Cusack) appeared and attempted to siege the city. Luckily the walls were up, though half finished, so the Roman tried to lure the garrison troops away from the walls leaving the city undefended. They succeeded, but Huo An saw the tactic.

He quickly rally the remaining troops and people in the city to raise the flags and sound the war drums like crazy, to maintain illusion that the walls are still manned, forcing Lucius to parlay. After an exhausting duel, both of them came to agreement to allow the Roman legion to enter the city, seeing that they actually in no condition to siege the city anyway. As the legion was tired and ran out of supplies, and also sandstorm was coming.

Do you want some more... cheese?
The Roman legion, thankful for the hospitality and cheese, helped Huo An to finish building the city using western superior engineering skills to speed up the construction work. But Huo An have a feeling that Lucius wasn't leading the legion out for a stroll just to get some fresh air.

Turns out the legion was fleeing from Rome. Killed his own father, who was also the Roman consul, the Republic was usurped by an evil general named Tiberius (Adrien Brody). He hunted Lucius's legion, because Lucius have Tiberius's younger brother, Publius, with him who could obstruct Tiberius from consolidating his power in controlling all of Rome.

This is the part where I'm confused. Lucius was trying to get Publius to Parthian Empire, where their queen had arrangement with the previously murdered Roman consul to keep Publius safe. But, I'm pretty sure that Parthian Empire is located between Roman Republic and Chinese Empire. How the hell did Lucius get all the way to China without getting to Parthian Empire first? Did he ate too many cheese?

I mean, I understand that the legion was lost and run out of supplies at the beginning. But you must be seriously lost your sense of direction if you actually missed the entire freaking empire and ended up in another completely different empire. Its cheesy crazy.

Holy cheeses.. We are totally cheesed.
As the film reaches its climax, the plot turned and twisted like nobody's business. Remember how Huo An was accused and punished for money laundering and gold smuggling crime at the beginning? Turns out its one of his own men who did it, because of greed and some political shit that I don't even understand.

But don't worry, that money-laundering-gold-smuggling sack of shit got murdered by Tiberius himself. Brutally. Tiberius lopped off that scum's hand, stab him in back up in the arse, and licked the blood. I'm not kidding, the scene was in the film. The guy was working with Tiberius under the impression that Tiberius would make him the new Prefecture Chief.

And it wasn't even the end yet. Tiberius is still the antagonist. And he didn't come all the way to western border of Chinese Empire with 100,000 strong troops just to shake hand and make peace. Epic battle ensues, and all of the army from different nations, including the Parthian Empire's army lead by non other than the queen herself (how the hell did she get there, and what's with the this mother lode of cheese??) appeared and help defeating Tiberius's army.

Hip hip hurray!

Oh, did I mentioned that Tiberius already killed Lucius and Publius before the epic battle ensues? Sorry, but both of them died. But Hou An managed to kill Tiberius in one epic duel at the end, so I suppose the Roman Republic have to vote for a new consul. Better that than Tiberius the father killer becomes the emperor, amirite?

I'm sorry, what was this film about again? Oh yes, the forgotten ancient city. After the whole ordeal, the remnant of Lucius's legion settled in that city and they called it Regum, or Regvm. Happy ending and cheese for everyone. Except for Lucius and Publius, because they dead. But I'm sure they died happy.

The film was so.. long winded and cheesy. It literally dulled my senses half and a quarter way through..


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