Enter The Fat Dragon (PG13)
Starring Donnie Yen, Niki Chow, Teresa Mo, Louis Cheung
Directed by Wong Jing
Donnie Yen’s CNY cinematic treat shares the same title of a 1978 Sammo Hung action comedy. The movies are unrelated but contain loving Bruce Lee references and feature a pudgy protagonist. But here’s the thing: Sammo really had a bellied figure and Donnie doesn’t. So he bulked up with a little prosthetics magic — with risible results.
As the overweight Hongkong cop battling the Yakuza in Tokyo (think Black Rain filtered through Jackie Chan’s mid-80s catalogue), Yen looks like a cross between the melting Michelin Man and someone with mumps (or extreme shellfish allergies). More convincing are the Yokocho alleys amazingly reconstructed in a studio.
It’s nice to see Donnie in non-serious mode and the kicks and punches are engaging (one set-piece takes place on rooftops), but those moments can’t redeem the lazy gags, slapdash plotting and random cameos — all the hallmarks of director Wong Jing, not exactly a filmmaker known for quality. (Isn’t he the Hongkong Jack Neo?)
Going for mindless festive fun is perfectly okay, but we deserve something better than this. Now, where’s Stephen Chow when you need him? (**1/2)
Photo: Shaw Organisation