Roaring Dragon, Bluffing Tiger


Dir: Kant Leung
Star: Billy Chow, Karen Tong, Anthony Wong, Collin Chow

First things first: any resemblance to a certain other film with a similar title is purely coincidental, though to the movie's credit, it isn't trying very hard. It's probably closer to an Indiana Jones film, with Wong as a fedora-hat wearing, whip-cracking adventurer who is out to stop Chinese treasures from being sold to evil foreigners. Though the level of quality is painfully obviously early, when they spell his name as "Anthony Wang" in the credits. He is more of a supporting character, with the main thrust centering on the villain's efforts to obtain three of twelve statues dating back to imperial times, and an undercover cop's efforts to foil him. There's also a subplot involving a nightclub singer and her friend, who get involved in the shenanigans.

This is mostly very dull, badly thought-out and poorly executed, and even Wong or Billy Chow, who have undeniable skills, are unable to do much given the script here. It's simply unexciting, with action scenes more likely to provoke a snort of ridicule than gasps of awe. Take the sequence where a guy slides along on his back, for about thirty seconds, firing guns at the enemy as he does so. It barely worked for John Woo in A Better Tomorrow 2, and Chow Yun-Fat at least had gravity on his side: on a perfectly-flat street, it makes no sense at all. Leung also lacks any concept of foreshadowing; the idea is, tell people about something before it happens, and in a subtle way, so that they don't go "Ah! Plot point!" - bring it up afterwards, and it's a cheap cop-out. The actors do their best, yet it's a losing battle; the end result is tediously depressing more than anything.

D
[May 2007]


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