Friday, February 20, 2015

"Dragon Blade" Gala Premiere - Excited Fans at GV Vivocity and A Movie Review by Vernon

The very very very expensive epic historical action movie "Dragon Blade" opens officially in cinemas island-wide today on 19 February, the 1st day of Chinese New Year.

From what Red Dot Diva was told, the movie did very well during the sneak screenings from 13-15 February, grossing about S$147,662 in just 3 days.

The cast were in visibly good spirits on their first promotional stop in Red Dot Island, even though Adrien did seem jetlagged at the morning's press conference.

Later that day at GV Vivocity for the red carpet gala premiere, they seem to have perked up more. Hundreds of fans (mostly young ones, who seem to be there screaming for Choi SiWon) were lined up along the passageway leading into the multiplex, all eager to catch a glimpse of their favourite idol(s).

Jackie leads the way on the red carpet (pic from Encore)

The media cage that Red Dot Diva was in got cramped within minutes before the actors walked down the red carpet. It got even messier when the contest winners from Singtel were invited upfront beyond the media cage, blocking the entire proceedings for many of the media, so that it was difficult to get clear photos or video clips of the cast on stage.

But despite of the frenzy, it was all very civilized (as are in most events in Red Dot Island) and it was nice to see all the actors looking bright-eyed and genuinely excited to meet their fans.

Pic from Encore

The cast members also took a group wefie with the main theatre where the VIP guests were.

Pic from Encore

As part of the local media, Red Dot Diva's movie-watching friend, Vernon, had the good fortune to watch the movie twice.

Here's his review taken from his movie blog, A Persistent Vision:

In 48 BC (apparently while Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great make the closing moves of their civil war), Roman forces decide to conquer every kingdom on the Silk Road between Rome and China, despite the Silk Road not being in existence, and no contiguous territory between the republic and Central Asia. Jackie Chan, as the chief of the “Silk Road Protection Squad”, is called upon to intervene in a growing civil war in Rome—but not that civil war. It’s a civil war between the 2 generals, Tiberius, played by deliciously evil and ambitious Adrien Brody, and a war-worn Lucius, portrayed by John Cusack.

Dragon Blade possesses historical fancifulness which approaches the level of online fanfiction. Your inability to suspend disbelief has been taken into account: the film compensates for its outlandish setting by having elaborate action sequences and full-pitched desert battles that bear the seal of quality of Jackie Chan’s personal stunt and action choreography company.

Story-wise, the film is a credible effort by the Chinese film industry at producing a Ridley Scott period epic. There is, after all, that epic good vs. evil confrontation (in both political and military senses) between two evenly matched generals with the fate of empires at stake. At over $60 million, it is the most expensive Chinese film ever released, with the $130 million Empires of the Deep still unreleased 2 years after production. The money is in every shot: from the old school sets to the multinational army of costumed extras and the armed stand-offs, big ham performances from John Cusack and Adrien Brody, and tableaux and deus ex machinae gleefully swiped from both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.

For the most part, the film looks like $60 million dollars. Except for say, some dodgy editing decisions, a desperate use of flashback scenes (including that one sequence of Adrien Brody sitting in a chair, Games of Thrones-like), and an entire scene that looked like a video transfer—signs that suggest a rushed post-production.

Dragon Blade may look like a Ridley Scott pic but plays out like a Jackie Chan flick, with a comic yet saintly central character, comic scenes and corny dialogue, dollops of moralistic preaching, and a propensity for the extras to mug relentlessly in camera. But any epic in the style of Ridley Scott will be severely tested by the levels of historical fancifulness in Dragon Blade.

Outside the bubble of the Sinosphere, the film may feel somewhat disturbing; Jackie’s heavy-handed “let there be peace between all men and races” and “We Chinese are peace-loving people” preaching throughout the film sits uncomfortably with China’s very public Big Power muscling in both the South China Sea and Central Asia.

Other than that, Dragon Blade is a highly entertaining epic film that teaches a good moral lesson. It’s certainly head and shoulders above the usual Chinese New Year cinematic fare. It even has potential to be an actual epic.


And what did Red Dot Diva think of the movie?

It is very much standard Jackie Chan action fare with a lot of wishful "let us all be friends" racial harmony kumbayahs. There was also a constant flow of man-tears that could fill up the Crescent Moon Lake. The big battle scenes were quite impressive with the many horses, extras and stunt men filling up the screen with action. At one point, Red Dot Diva was even wondering where's Gandalf??! One cannot deny the detailed effort and serious money that was put into the costumes and props, which visually stand out amongst most Chinese movies to-date.

Despite Red Dot Diva's personal fears that it may turn out to be another East-West dud, the movie was surprisingly entertaining in many parts.

So, here are those whom she thinks will enjoy ‪"Dragon Blade":
- ‪Jackie Chan‬ fans! (Obviously). It is a very recognizably JC movie. All the JC tropes are there.
- Siwon fangirls who will take him in any which way of his few minutes of screentime 
- People and keyboard warriors who "fight" for racial harmony
- Sandpeople (eh.. WUT? Wrong movie? Oops.)
- Evil Divas who relish watching ‪Adrien Brody‬ being a bad bad boy. Mmmmmm....

Case in point.

- Fans who enjoy ‪John Cusack‬ in any movie (he was pretty solid in his Roman scenes actually)
- Those who have revenge fantasies, even though Huo An said "there is no such thing" (oops! Spoiler alert!)

N'er mind.... if you have nodded your head this far, you will still like the movie, lah!

And if you are *still* not sure if you would want to watch the movie, here's a final and much better edited trailer for "Dragon Blade":

No comments:

Post a Comment