review by Bobby Blakey
There is no denying that Donnie Yen is a martial arts icon. He has been bringing martial arts action like only he can for decades with films like his iconic Ip Man series, Raging Fire, Flash Point and most recently John Wick Chapter 4. In addition he has stepped into the director’s chair a few times throughout his career, but not since 2004. Now he is taking on double duties once again with his latest film Sakra based on the classic wuxia novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by Louis Cha (known worldwide by his pen name Jin Yong). The film co-stars Yuqi Chen, Eddie Cheung, and Yase Liu with action direction by Kenji Tanigaki, but does it bring more of what Yen fans have come to expect or will it fail to find its technique?
Sakra follows a respected martial artist who is accused of murder and goes on the run in search of answers about his own mysterious origin story and the unknown enemies working to destroy him.
Any time Donnie Yen is involved in the film you know you are going to get top quality action, but that doesn’t mean every film works. When this film kicked off it wasted no time to get right into some great old school martial arts action, but the story kind of limped along after that initially making me worried of what was to come. Thankfully that was short lived and found its footing and ended up not only working, but being quite good.
In usual fashion for this genre it is a bit all over the place at times as it introduced a slew of characters with each one having an agenda to betray or destroy the other. This one plays up the mystery of the crime with Yen trying to sort out who framed him all while leaving a wake of ass kicking in his path. I was surprised that it was a bit calm for quite a bit as it shifts focus into the romance and search for belonging ins his journey. This
opens up more character development and understanding of who he is outside of just kicking butt.
Have no fear, Yen brings it like usual complete with numerous multiple opponent long fight sequences that are better than the one before. There is a supernatural element that borrows from the classic films of the wuxia genre showcasing specific styles or techniques that are like super heroes hence the genre it sits in. These are handled with serious focus and only used when it makes sense allowing for plenty of the down and dirty action complete with awesome wire work.
I love when Yen is more grounded with his action like in films like Flashpoint, but he is just so damn good at all of it that it works in this style to perfection as well. He is the full package still today and this latest effort once again proves that. It is also clearly setting up another entry or full on franchise with the ending so stick around and see what could be to come.
Decide for yourself and check out Sakra available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Well Go USA.