Published on July 3rd, 2023 | by Tim Chuma
Sakra Review (2023)
Summary: While I enjoy Donnie Yen's work as an actor in his own and other movies he needs to learn restraint or have a crew that actually can say no to his demands sometimes. Go watch something else.
Get in the bin
When head of the Beggars gang Qiao Feng (Donnie Yen) is framed for several murders and ousted from his role, he vows to find who is responsible. Dick size wars in the martial world are fairly common in the Shaw Brothers back catalogue and this movie seems to be following the same format. It may also have a somewhat similar story to Stephen Chow’s King of Beggars but maybe go see that movie for something actually fun.
While the start of the movie seems to be in too much of a hurry to get the plot going, it eventually bogs down with a lot of talking and plots which are interminable and several false endings that should have been cut. Shaw Brothers at least knew the deal was to get in, kill the bad guy and then cut to the credits straight away. Get the bums on seats, run the movie, get the next session seated as soon as possible.
The very first fight scene has some dude who shoots fireballs like he is Super Mario or something and then it is never bought up again. Donnie Yen’s character has some sort of power fisting move but he doesn’t use it that much until near the end.
I didn’t believe he would want to save the person who got themselves hit by a death palm and go back to his old gang to try and get her help. There is supposedly meant to be some sort of romantic relationship but they are more like father and daughter it is very strange.
There are some decent fight scenes including the big one at the Beggar’s gang with Donnie versus everyone else but that really should have been the end of the movie. It feels like being cheated when they don’t end it there as there is at least another half hour after this that feels unnecessary.
I won’t say what the actual ending is but that nonsense loses this movie another star. Get directly into the bin! He may be a good action star and I look forward to seeing his performances in other films, but keep Donnie Yen away from directing until he learns restraint or people actually say no to him.
Director: Ka-Wai Kam, Donnie Yen
Writer: He Ben, Chen Li, Sheng Lingzhi, Lejing Shen, Xu Yifan, Wei Zhu
Adapted from the novel “Tian Long Ba Bu” (Demi Gods and Semi-Devils) by Jin Yong (Louis Cha).
Starring: Donnie Yen, Yuqi Chen, Cya Liu, Yase Liu, Yue Wu, Kara Wai, Eddie Cheung, Yuming Du, Ray Lui, Siu-Ming Tsui, Cheung-Yan Yuen, Pan Hongliang, Zhonghua Li, Guorong Liang, Cheng, Dehui Zhang, Jiulong Guo, Hua Yan, Xiangyu Cai, Michelle Hu, Huawei Zhao, Kang Yu, Xiangdong Xu
Length: 2h 10m