Director: Philip Atwell
Writer: Lee Anthony Smith, Gregory J. Bradley
Cast: Jet Li, Jason Statham, Terry Chen, John Lone, Devon Aoki, Sung Kang, Ryo Ishibashi
Running Time: 103 min.
By JJ Hatfield
War, uhhh yeah, what is it good for absolutely nothin’… sorry. The song is good. This movie is not. What comes across is rather two dimensional. I felt at times the characters were made of cardboard. I swear they were doing stop animation filming scattered through the movie. This reviewer found it difficult to care about any of the characters. One of the few aspects that is interesting is that viewers seem to have extreme feelings about it’s rating – really like it or hated it. Comments overheard seemed to validate the same response.
One of the complaints heard often was Jet did not do his usual balls to the wall kick ass kung fu action. Folks, Jet said a few years back he was not going to be doing non stop no holds barred kung fu. In a way it is a disappointment. We love to see Jet do his stuff, meaning kicking the living daylights out of bad people. Fans have grown to expect high quality fighting all the time, in every movie. But the only thing that is certain is things will change.
Jet is tired of the same old routine. He has given us so many wonderful films that have stood the test of time and will continue to do so. He has repeatedly stated there would be no more movies like “Fearless”. So while a disappointment upon reflection he is only following through with his plans. Time stops for no one and that includes Jet. He has had numerous injuries and he is, like us all, getting older. Even he can’t defeat the passing of time and the accumulated injuries. We know Jet can act. That being said he didn’t seem to be very interested in his performance. Perhaps that was supposed to be just his character but he seemed …bored? distracted? Whatever the reason we know Jet can act but he doesn’t display it often here.
Jason Statham on the other hand excelled at manic over-acting! It seems he is capable of two facial/body expressions both over the top hyperactive and that is about all. He does have his ardent fans. A little of him is okay but someone please get him some downers! He also needs to have a set “voice” in one movie and stop yelling so much. Motion is not necessarily action. I found it difficult to believe his responses which seemed to escalate every ten minutes. The plot twist at the end was a cheap trick. I suspected something to change but it took the easy way out. I had a difficult time deciding upon a rating. Most of the supporting cast did well but there was a sub plot that seemed unresolved.
If you want Jet kicking ass watch “Fist of Legend”, “Danny the Dog” “Fearless” and many many more. Try to think more along the lines of “Crime Story” starring Jackie Chan. (Jet was actually considered for the role but he passed and it proved Jackie could really act and still entertain.) There is also a logistical difficulty with using kung fu in modern times. People involved with Triads/Gangs/Yakuza/Mafia etc. are usually well armed with guns. Big guns and lots of bullets. Using martial arts against any kind of gun successfully is not likely to happen often. We have to bite the bullet (no pun intended) and accept a different kind of action film with Jet. Different does not necessarily mean bad, but this movie is.
JJ Hatfield’s Rating: 4.5/10