The repressed return with a vengeance in "Wu xia," a satisfyingly sinewy fusion of martial-arts actioner and brain-tickling noir from busy producer-director Peter Ho-sun Chan. Channeling David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" by way of 1917 China, this clever if over-amped thriller tackles themes of identity, honor and the latent killer instinct with a playful spirit that's never at odds with its underlying seriousness. Pleasurable pairing of Donnie Yen's stoic heroics and Takeshi Kaneshiro's droll detection should woo local auds on August release, while offshore acquisition by the Weinstein Co. all but ensures Chan's widest exposure yet in Western markets.
I don't know why anybody thinks this will get any kind of actual exposure over here with the Weinsteins distributing it. Speaking for myself, I'm really looking forward to getting the import Blu so I can watch it sometime this decade AND NOT UNDER A RIDICULOUS NEW NAME.
Bursting with light and color, and a torrent of martial arts action both swift and savage (arguably the best that lead actor Donnie Yen has choreographed for years), Wu Xia is coherently developed and stylishly directed by Peter Ho-Sun Chan to provide unashamedly pleasurable popular entertainment. Wu Xia created buzz before its premiere with acquisition by The Weinstein Company, which will release the title stateside as Dragon. Almost as picturesque as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the film has a chance of expanding overseas audience base beyond Asian genre ghettos.