Why do all Chinese movies have to be so sad?!
It's a tale of the revolution this time, with Donnie yen in a sacrificial but honorable role, along with a big Shaolin monk and a prodigal martial kind of master, who all do their best to aid the revolution, laying their lives on the line just to get a prominent man - Doctor Sun - to a meeting.
It's a flashified variant of a probably real set of trials people went through in the stages of revolution that finally overthrew the Qing dynasty... but for what? Did China become the land of promise they hoped? Are they looking down and smiling now - happy that their country is in the hands of the noble caretakers they hoped would take over?
I don't mean to get all cynical, but the philosophy of blood paving the way for revolution feels so unnecessary here, honorable or no.
Then again maybe this historical glimpse was a subliminal call to action yet again. And if so I understand. Revolutions may be required. Regimes may need to be toppled. So that their aims may change and they may be noble once again. Who knows. If that is the intention here then bravo.
Either way it's a well-made movie. Sad but true, as they say. Well-placed. Well-filmed. Well... everything but the ending... but only the ending before the one to come when all is said and done.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle
Donnie gets to showcase some nice parkour skills here too btw.