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Fight sequences and jingoism propel Andrew Lau's period martial-arts melodrama, a formula that can be irresistible despite one's better judgment. It's 1917, and the Allies have compelled China to send laborers to toil in the trenches. Abandoned by the French, a cadre are left on their own against the Germans. As it happens, however, their number includes the legendary warrior Chen Zhen (Donnie Yen), who, armed only with two bayonets, dispatches about a regiment of the enemy. Lots of fun, and the high point of the movie. Later, in 1925 Shanghai, it's the Japanese who are the problem; led by the lethal Colonel Chikaraishi (Kohata Ryuichi), they control much of Shanghai. Disguised as a Kato look-alike (Bruce Lee played the first incarnation of Chen Zhen in Fists of Fury), our hero energetically wipes out Japanese assassins whenever he's not wooing chanteuse Kiki (Shu Qi). It's a pastiche of genres that's most interesting as a look at Chinese xenophobia.

  Topics: Reviews , Japanese, Andrew Lau, Brattle Theatre,  More more >
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