Dragon Wu Xia PosterThis is a movie known by many titles – Swordsmen, Wu Xia and just recently Dragon. It tells an interesting story set 1917 about a man who becomes a hero in his local village.

It starts off as we meet Liu Jinxi (Donnie Yen), his wife Yu (Tang Wei) and their sons.  They live in a very small village and lead simple happy lives.  One day two robbers enter the town and hold up the local general store, while Jinxi is inside.

In panic Jinxi runs out and attacks the men by trying to tackle one, but ends up hugging his waist.  The three men struggle as they try to fight, and Jinxi eventually kills both men seemingly by accident.  The two men, on the top 10 most wanted list, have been ‘brought to justice’ by Jinxi and he is seen as a local hero.

That’s when Xu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) comes into town to investigate the whole scenario.  Noticing that the men, dangerous fighters were both killed by seemingly harmless country bumpkin, he gets suspicious.  He believes Jinxi to be a man named Tang Long who was the former second in command of the 72 demons – a massively powerful criminal organisation.

The movie then goes into a look at the fight.  After discovering the Jinxi is in fact Tang Long things really get heavy as Xu tries to arrest Jinxi while his father, head of the 72 demons, sends his men to bring him back home.

A bit mysterious..

The investigation only accounts for just under half of the movie, but it is by far the most intriguing part of the film.  Before any real action takes place, the story of Xu’s investigation is told brilliantly – you’re left with no idea of what’s going to happen.

Donnie Yen

As he studies every detail he is told of the fight, he uses his vast knowledge of acupuncture and the human body to find certain things that are simply to precise to be coincidence, claiming that ‘a farmer like Jinxi would not have the ability to pull off such a difficult martial arts technique’.

It’s not until  the 72 demons start to plan their capture of Jinxi that things start to heat up action wise, but even then the story seems to be told more with pace and events than action.

Fight Scenes

The Action & Martial Arts

This a very ‘in the middle’ movie for Donnie Yen fans.  As always what action you do see is fantastic, the frequency isn’t as high as I’d like, but not as low as some of his previous ‘action’ movies.  There are a few quick flashes of action throughout.

The most entertaining scene is the fight between Donnie Yen’s character and a woman played by the legendary martial arts actress Kara Hui.  The pace is fantastic and the fight lasts a satisfying length;  it’s not over too quickly.  The two have an excellent back and forth that really showcases the abilities both are known for.  Unfortunately it’s about the only action scene in the movie which really meets the standard most Yen fans expect.

The other scenes are either over too quickly, or a little ridiculous like the fight between him and his father as he deflects Jinxi’s sword with his Iron Shirt style.

Donnie Yen and Kara Hui

The most interesting is how the action is told.  The first fight scene shows Jinxi fighting hopelessly against the robbers.  But we learn that that’s how the fight was told by Jinxi to Xu. Xu pulls things apart and we learn how it more than likely happened, and we see bit and pieces of Donnie Yen’s fantastic martial arts.

The Verdict?

Not the most action packed, but one of the better Donnie Yen movies of late.  The action in the movie is quality, but the real winner is the pace and interesting nature of the storytelling.  It has my recommendation!

On Blu Ray –

Region A (US & Canada)
Wu Xia on Blu-ray

Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc)
Wu Xia on Blu-ray

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Can’t find it yet!

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Can’t find it yet!

Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Wu Xia on DVD 

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