• Invincible Dragon (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: October 6th, 2020.
    Director: Fruit Chan
    Cast: Jin Zhang, Anderson Silva, Kevin Cheng, Annie Liu, Stephy Tang, Juju Chan
    Year: 2019
    Purchase From Amazon

    Invincible Dragon – Movie Review:

    Kow Loon (a goofily named character played by Max Zhang) is one of the toughest and best cops working in Hong Kong, but he’s also got a temper and a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. While working a case trying to bring in a portly crime lord dealing in narcotics, he slips up and pays the price when their brawl erupts from the bowels of what we can guess is a banquet hall of some sort and into a fancy wedding that’s taking place. Kow is called in front of his superiors and relocated, this time he’s gone just one step too far.

    Kow loses his fiancé and relocates, only to become understandably intrigued when it appears someone in the area is in the business of killing female police officers. Now spending time as a combatant in a series of underground fights, where he reconnects with his old rival Alexander Sinclair (Anderson Silva). It turns out they still don’t get along, and the deeper Kow digs into the rash of killings and the truth about what really happened to his fiancé, the more he starts to wonder what Sinclair is really up to these days.

    Fruit Chan, who gained some notoriety in the west for his short film, Dumplings, which was included in the Three… Extremes anthology in 2004 and also fleshed out as a feature length picture that same year, directed this one, co-writing with Kee-To Lam (who wrote a few legitimate classics like The Swordsman and The Bride With The White Hair), which you think would be a recipe for success but this picture has a few problems, not the least of which are some pretty massive logic gaps that make the moments where the picture goes into ‘police procedural mode’ tough to swallow. Additionally, there are bizarre, and completely unnecessary, fantasy elements thrown into the picture involving a poorly rendered CGI dragon that will take you right out of the film, and a few unnecessary shifts from color to black and white, just to make all of this an even messier proposition.

    And that’s a shame, because there are elements of Invincible Dragon that are genuinely impressive. The action set pieces are legitimately great and the martial arts bouts both well-choreographed and genuinely tense. Max Zhang moves like a cat and Anderson Silva is every bit his equal, both of these men have clearly got a lot of training under their belts and the movie exploits this quite effectively. By the time we get to the finale, set atop a massive skyscraper in the middle of Hong Kong, however, we’ve figured out the twist (it isn’t hard) and the digitally rendered background, looking very much like a digitally rendered background rather than an actual tactile location, proves an unfortunate distraction.

    This isn’t a waste. The action makes it watchable and there are some moments of impressive cinematography. That said, it’s just so tonally disjointed that it’s hard to get too involved with all of this and the picture fails to reach its potential.

    Invincible Dragon – Blu-ray Review:

    The AVC encoded 2.35.1 widescreen 1080p high definition picture on this disc is excellent, taking up 21.7GBs of space on the 25GBdisc. Detail is strong, colors are reproduced beautifully. Black levels are nice and deep throughout the presentation. Some questionable use of CGI looks a little off, but that’s an issue with the effects themselves and not the transfer which is otherwise rich in both detail and texture. There are no issues at all with dirt, debris or visual detriments of any kind and the disc is well authored, showing no noise reduction or heavy edge enhancement. Outside of some slight shimmer here and there, the movie looks beautiful on Blu-ray – almost reference quality.

    A Cantonese language audio option is provided in 16-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio with removable subtitles available in English and simplified and traditional Chinese. A Cantonese language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is also available. The lossless track here is an impressive one from start to finish that does a remarkable job of putting you right in the middle of the action. The score is spread around perfectly with some nice pans thrown in for dramatic effect while bass response is consistent in its power but never to the point where it buries anything that it shouldn’t. It’s hard to think of anything negative to say here, this is pretty much a reference quality mix.

    Extras are limited to two different trailers for the feature and some trailers for other Well Go USA properties that play before the main menu loads. A slipcover is also included and inside the Blu-ray case is an insert containing an advertisement for Well Go USA’s streaming service, Hi-Yah!, and a few of their recent Blu-ray releases like Ip Man 4, Gundala and Samurai Marathon.

    Invincible Dragon – The Final Word:

    Invincible Dragon features some legitimately great action set pieces but its narrative is a mess and its tone wildly uneven. Still, it’s entertaining enough thanks to the expert martial arts on display, and less demanding action movie fans will find much to appreciate here on that level alone. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray is light on extra features but it does look and sound really good indeed.

    Click on the images below for full sized Invincible Dragon Blu-ray screen caps!