Donnie Yen does the unbelievable in this action-comedy that makes the directorial debut of one of his stunt team members, Kenji Tanigaki.
Fallon Zhu is a Hong Kong police officer who throws himself into action every chance possible. On the day he was to get married to his TV actress fiancée Chloe, Fallon finds himself protecting his friend and fellow cop Huang against a band of robbers. An upset and embarrassed Chloe dumps Fallon as she grows tired of his work as a cop. When Huang gets promoted and Fallon has relegated to the evidence room, he begins to eat and eventually gains weight.
When Huang gives Fallon an assignment to extradite a thief from Japan back to Hong Kong, Fallon meets up with Inspector Endo and translator Maggie, his attempt to stop the thief is futile. The police refuses to help Fallon when he is in hot water. However, Fallon gets a temporary sigh of relief when he runs into Chloe again, who is working with Shimakura, a supposed businessman who is actually a Yakuza boss. Fallon also finds allies with restaurant owner Charisma with her husband Thor, a former cop; and Little Tiger, a delivery boy skilled in martial arts. When Fallon learns that Shimakura is involved with drug smuggling, he pulls off all the stops and attempts to rescue Chloe when she is threatened.
When a film called Enter the Fat Dragon was announced and it was to star Donnie Yen, it was met with a bit of a shock. The reason is that people thought it would be an essential remake to the 1978 Sammo Hung vehicle about a pig farmer who idolizes Bruce Lee. This can be considered a “half-remake” With Donnie Yen’s Fallon Zhu idolizes Bruce Lee like Hung, his character is a tough as nails police officer who despite getting into the worse situations, unleashes his skills.
The film does have a sense of emotion as to why Yen’s character of Fallon Zhu becomes the titular “Fat Dragon”, it is a story of heartbreak. Niki Chow is great as Chloe, Fallon’s TV actress ex-fiancee who is embarrassed when he doesn’t show up and instead looks for a fight against a band of robbers in the film’s opening scene. Louis Cheung provides a bit of comic relief as Fallon’s former partner turned superior Huang. Naoto Takenaka is also fun at times as toupee-wearing Inspector Endo, who is Fallon’s liaison in Japan with Kickboxer: Retaliation co-star Jessica Jann as good-natured interpreter Maggie.
The action scenes are nicely done with director Kenji Tanigaki leading the action team. Despite wearing a fat suit, Yen still gets to strut his stuff. In one scene where he is warned about his past actions, Yen gets to spoof one of his major fights in SPL where Philip Ng replaces Wu Jing as the blond hair assassin Jack. Aside from Yen, we get to see teen taekwondo champion Chaney Lin in on one of the brief action scenes. Seeing Yen pull off some Bruce-like moves in a fat suit may seem insulting, but Yen still moves and kicks like he’s fit and young despite the suit. He even gets to whirl the nunchakus like Bruce and has a big smile on his face during the final action set piece.
Enter the Fat Dragon is actually a fun film with Donnie Yen meshing action and comedy. Sure, he’s bumbling, but he’s also badass.
WFG RATING: B+
Well Go USA presents a Bona Film Group/Bullet Films/Mega-Vision Pictures/Sun Entertainment Film Group production. Directors: Kenji Tanigaki and Aman Chang. Producers: Donnie Yen, Wong Jing, and Connie Wong. Writer: Wong Jing. Cinematography: Takuro Ishizaka, Edmond Fung, Jimmy Kwok, Ng King-Man, and Ko Chiu-Lam. Editing: Li Ka-Wing.
Cast: Donnie Yen, Niki Chow, Teresa Mo, Wong Jing, Chaney Lin, Joey Tee, Naoto Takenaka, Louis Cheung, Jessica Jann, Tetsuya Watanabe, Wong Cho-Lam, Lawrence Chou, Jerry Lamb.