Dragon is similar to David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. Both have the same plot but happen in different eras. This is director Peter Chan’s project after his was epic The Warlords. Dragon stars Donnie Yen as Liu Jinxi, a man who lives with his wife Yu (Tang Wei) and their two sons.
It is the year 1917 and Liu just happens to be at a local store when two men try to rob it. He manages to kill the robbers. This attracts the interest of Xu Baijiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro), a detective who is convinced that Liu is not just an ordinary man. This is true because he has secrets that led to his hiding for ten years.
Right from the opening credits, blood is seen spilling out. The first big action sequence catches the attention of the audiences because it brings something new to the usual ones that we’ve seen from the Hong Kong action star. He is more passive and uses his opponents force against them.
Xu Baijiu analyses the crime scenes similar to how Sherlock Holmes did it in Guy Ritchie’s version. The detective mentally dissects the events as Liu gives his account of what happened in the store.
Yen sells the story that he is a convicted murderer, which is different from his usual roles of inspectors and revolutionaries. You can feel the tension between Liu and Xu Baijiu. Speaking of the the detective, Takeshi Kaneshiro steals the show from Yen. His performance in Dragon is well polished as he plays a man who has been stripped of everything he believed in. All he has left is his job and he is obsessed with Liu Jinxi.
Dragon’s last fight takes the viewers by surprise. It feels more intelligent than the usual martial arts movie. Director Peter Chan doesn’t want it to be compared to A History of Violence but action movie fans will definitely see the similarities between the two flicks.