KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando reviews "Dragon."
Related Story: Review: 'Dragon (Wu Xia)'
ANCHOR INTRO: This weekend, you can catch martial arts star Donnie Yen in "Dragon" at the Reading Gaslamp Theaters. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says the film mixes genres to good effect.
DRAGON 1 (ba) (1:19)
With Jackie Chan and Jet Li getting older and finding more lucrative work in the US, Donnie Yen has taken over the title as Asia's top martial arts star. As an actor and action choreographer, he's given us some of the best action films of the last decade including "Ip Man," "SPL," and "Flashpoint." In "Dragon," he shares the screen with Takeshi Kaneshiro for a film that blends period martial arts with procedural detective thriller. At one point Kaneshiro's detective replays a fight for us -- stopping and even reversing the action...
CLIP fight SFX
So that we can re-examine what happened and decide if Yen's Liu Jinxi is merely an accidental hero or something more ominous. Jinxi draws attention to himself when he prevents a robbery by killing a pair of thugs. At a ceremony to honor him as a hero he gets a violent reminder of his past clan connections.
CLIP swordplay SFX
"Dragon" is a action film that raises questions about karma, fate, and our ability to change our natures. The film mixes some flashy CGI effects with highly stylized fight choreography. For the most part the action mixes well with the philosophizing and the film only falters in the final act. Chalk this one up as another win for Yen and for action fans who like some solid drama with their martial arts.
Beth Accomando, KPBS News.