ENTER THE FAT DRAGON (2020) review

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Not a remake of Sammo Hung’s 1978 action comedy despite sharing a title and rotund lead with it, Kenji Tanigaki’s Enter the Fat Dragon follows Fallon Zhu (Donnie Yen), a well-meaning but slightly unhinged cop who becomes overweight after suffering a break-up from his longtime girlfriend, TV actress Chloe (Niki Chow), and a demotion to the archive room of his precinct. He jumps at the opportunity to get back to the field with a mission to escort a Japanese suspect back to Tokyo, where Chloe is coincidentally staying at the same time, hoping to expand her career to the Japanese market. But when the suspect is murdered by none other than the shady businessman (Go Hayama) sponsoring Chloe’s Japanese experience, and the inspector in charge (Takenaka Naoto) proves to be corrupt, Fallon teams up with a former undercover cop turned restaurant owner (Wong Jing) to bring them to justice.

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S.W.A.T. (2019) review

142640.57599544_1000X1000The latest in the ‘Glorified recruiting video’ subgenre of Chinese cinema (see the first Wolf Warrior, The Warriors or Sky Hunter, and many others), Ding Sheng’s S.W.A.T. follows the the Blue Sword Commandos, an elite SWAT team, as they train arduously and go up against a ruthless drug trafficker (Robert Knepper) and his team of mercenaries. That’s about it for the plot: built like a banal network TV show, the film alternates between training sequences (in a hangar, in a plane, on the shooting yard), skirmishes (in a metro station, atop a skyscraper), and scenes of evil Gweilos going about their business, until a drawn-out action finale on an island. Subtlety is absent, and the usual racial paradigm of these Chinese propaganda actioners applies more than ever: Chinese are good, Africans are funny, Caucasians are evil.

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