If there is anyone you can trust in directing entertaing action commercial films is in Benny Chan, here he weaves a basic story of a man on a road of redemption interspersed with fine action set pieces.
The film is very melodramatic with over stuffed emotions that work fine but is not very original in delivery. Music score hits all the right notes queing the audience with the right emotions. andy lau is always a competent actor but here flutuates between over acting to more composed frequently and the effect can be a bit jarring. fan bing bing has little to do in the film except for a flower vase role and nicholas tse over acts to the point of destroying the film. Tse grins and laughs menacingly and dons a beard to highlight his evil side but his villainous character lacks the logical motivations in his actions. jackie chan appears in an extended cameo that is very fun to watch but sometimes it feels like he is a different film from the seriousness of the film.
Those who have become dissappointed with Cory Yuen action choreography of the late can rest assured that here he returns to form with some finely staged fights, complimented by the able cast of martial artirts such as wu jing, real life shoalin monk xing yu, jackie chan and xiong xin xin (aka Hung yan yan of Once upon a time in china fame). Stars such as andy lau and nicholas tse also do admirably in the fight department. Wire work is obviously used but sparingly usually to enhance a move or exaggerate power. Fights do occur frequently through out the film but there is a major problem being that fights end pretty quick. The end show down is also a bit of a dissapointment especially the fight between xiong xin xin and xing yu.
Those approaching this for original story telling will be dissapointed, the story is as generic as it gets, but with competent action scenes and an incredible cast the film is very enjoyable.