Chasing the Dragon          review by Bobby Blakey

Donnie Yen has cemented himself as an action icon after years of memorable martial arts roles including his most iconic the Ip series. His latest film Chasing the Dragon is taking him in a different direction and teaming him up easily the most popular actor in Asia Andy Lau.

Chasing the Dragon follows infamous real-life drug kingpin Crippled Ho, who came to Hong Kong an illegal immigrant in 1963 and ruthlessly carved an empire from the chaotic underworld of drug dealers and corrupt police that ruled the city under notorious detective Lee Rock. I love all things Donnie Yen so was really excited to see him take on a different kind of role like this. There is some action here but they kept it to a more real brutal type of fighting and far away from the martial arts world which was perfect. The story plays very much like Scarface with Yen’s character of Crippled Ho based on real life gangster Ng Sek-ho, but has some slower moments where things get a bit jumbled at times. Thankfully as a whole the film delivers with Yen delivering a great performance across the board. I was concerned that seeing him I would be disappointed with not getting any martial arts action, but he is so good here you don’t care. He fully embodies this role and brings the emotion and ruthlessness to it that makes you want to see more.

 

The always great Andy Lau offers up yet another great performance as detective Lee Rock whom he also played in the trilogy of the same name in the 90s. He brings so much to the role that is necessary for this film to work as a whole because it’s the relationship he and Yen have that is pivotal to its success right up until the very end. This is a crime mob flick through and through and works great. While there isn’t any of the martial arts action I love there is still plenty of fighting and shootouts to keep fans happy. There are some big action pieces put together here that are intense and remind you more of the realism of violence.

 

I really enjoy films like Goodfellas and Scarface and this film brings that same tone to the forefront and with the great cast and performances delivers a great film worth checking out. If you are a fan of Yen or Lau and how can you not be, then you have to check out Chasing the Dragon available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Well Go USA.

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