Dragon Squad (2005)

Posted in Reviews by - July 05, 2021
Dragon Squad (2005)

Cops and robbers stuff from director Daniel Lee, who really butchers the action with way too much ‘shakey-cam’, crash zooms and quick editing, rendering many of the shootouts as almost unwatchable. And the film mostly consists of shootouts, too, despite Chin Kar-lok’s credit as martial arts coordinator and with Sammo Hung in the cast. Sammo does have an excellent throw-down with Korean star Heo Joon-ho, but if you’re a kung fu movie fan, you will be far better served watching Sammo’s other 2005 effort, S.P.L.. Given that its an ensemble film, most of the characters are offered short-shrift in terms of development; not that it really matters, though, as this is a blatant exercise in style over substance. Its international feel, however, does make it a curiosity – executive produced by Steven Seagal and featuring a turn from The Terminator and Aliens actor, Michael Biehn. Biehn plays a gweilo scumbag who almost becomes likeable when he wins the heart of Li Bingbing, playing the girlfriend of a rival crime lord. It’s a bit odd seeing Biehn in a Hong Kong crime thriller, but to his credit, his grizzled schtick chimes neatly with the tone of the film. This subplot ultimately ends up taking up the main thread of the film’s second act, with Biehn part of a gang led by Heo Joon-ho who are making a bid for power in a rival crime war. Hot on their tail is a gang of youthful Interpol agents who look more like they should be modelling an autumn-winter collection than fighting crime. Among their number are Van Ness Wu, Shawn Yue, Xia Yu, Lawrence Chou and Eva Huang, the only woman in the group, who is all too obviously reduced to an emotional anchor for the boys. Sammo plays a Hong Kong cop close to retirement, haunted by a botched raid three years ago who agrees to guide the agents as they try to take out the gang. Sammo is always engaging even in the most pedestrian of action films – still looking cool as he jogs around Hong Kong while smoking a cigar. Maggie Q also provides a fine supporting role as a badass sniper working for the crooks, but this is not a film that will linger long in the memory.

AKA: Dragon Heat.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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