| August 28, 2007

This film is a disgrace to the action genre in particular and movies in general. Why did I not see this coming? My mind was clouded by the fact that Jet Li and Jason Statham were going to fight. I would watch a 24-hour silent film festival with my nuts in a jar of acid if it meant watching these two stars throw down at the end of it. But sadly, the flick pulls a Kill Bill and gives us a five second bullshit fight.
Where do I start? First off, I’m sick and tired of these Asian-American movies with plots revolving around the evil “triads.” It’s never once made sense in a film (probably because everyone looks the same) and everything is extremely difficult to decipher. Matter of fact, this is the third movie this year that deals with this shit (Dead Man’s Chest, Rush Hour 3). And on top of this, the flick had a fucking wretched director–that’s right–from the man that brought you a 50 Cent video. And it seems as though the studio could only afford to hire one decent actor (Statham) while we have to suffer through endless scenes of bad acting and Jet Li trying to speak English. The best movie he ever did was Lethal Weapon 4, because he only had one line. That dude has a girly voice and when he’s supposed to be a scary villain, he’s much more intimidating if he doesn’t speak. Not to mention he’s old as shit (wasn’t he retired already?) and the movie actually had a plot twist describing why his face looks so messed up.
But anyway, as many other action flicks have proved, it’s not about the content, it’s about the action. Well, this piece of shit is pretty action-less given the fact that is stars Statham and Li. Statham spends most of his time making verbal threats while Li decides to shoot all his opponents instead of hand-to-hand combat. Each actor gets one brief fight scene, and then a very brief showdown versus each other. But all these scenes are weak in comparison to the actors’ previous work. There were golden opportunities passed up in this movie. How the fuck are you finally going to get two action stars together and not take advantage of them beating the shit out of each other for as long as possible (a la Freddy vs. Jason)? Either that or at least have them kick some serious ass on their own, which doesn’t ever really happen. I remember at one point Statham’s character visits a friend of his at an underground caged fighting match. Once the scene was over, my friend turned to me and said, “Explain to me how Jason Statham goes to a cage match in an action movie and doesn’t end up fighting?” Like I said, golden opportunities were overlooked.
Yes, there are a few action scenes in the flick (aside from what I’ve already mentioned above) but not a single one has a lick of originality to it. Most of the time it felt like a straight-to-DVD Seagal flick. Some cool kills and T&A kept me from giving it a lower grade, but they were few and far in between. Jet Li needs to retire and Statham needs to actually read the scripts before he starts shooting.
Grade: D+

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