Top positive review
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Engrossing martial arts drama
on 20 April 2016
Dragon is a beautifully filmed and choreographed martial arts film set in China in around 1920. Donnie Yen plays Tang Long, the former murderous second in command of a group of warriors (the 72 Demons), who having forsaken his violent past, is now married and living quietly under an alias (Liu Jinxi) in a small village. Fate takes a hand one day when two thiefs try to rob the store in the village and Liu kills them both. A detective (Xu Baijiu) sent to the village to investigate the incident discovers that one of the dead men was a notorious killer and becomes suspicious that there is more to Liu than being a simple villager.
Xu discovers that Liu is in fact Tang Long and in his attempts to get an arrest warrant inadvertently allows a corrupt official to inform the head of the 72 Demons of the whereabouts of Tang Long, who sends his men to the village to get him. The changing nature of the relationship between Xu and Liu/Tang Long is also a central part of the film.
It looks beautiful, the action scenes are great as you would probably expect, but it is also well acted and some of the quieter scenes are also full of tension (I particularly liked the scene when Liu, having revealed to Xu that he is really the infamous Tang Long, is escorting him back alone through the forest towards the city, where he knows Xu will seek an arrest warrant for him).