Starring: Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, Harry Shum Jr., Jason Scott Lee, Eugenia Yuan, Juju Chan, Darryl Quon
Directed by: Woo-Ping Yuen
Written by: John Fusco
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min
Back in the year 2000, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – was a hit, all around the world. A mystical martial arts film that nicely balanced beautifully choreographed action with heart-felt drama. As poetic as it was stunningly shot. A film in the Mandarin Language available dubbed in English. As it should be.
Forward the clock to 2016, and we have the sequel no one was really clamoring for. With an even more mystical edge, overly color saturated photography, and a pair of love stories not worth caring about. A film that has its Mandarin speaking cast use English, but is available dubbed in Mandarin. As it shouldn’t be.
Sword of Destiny is a mix of ideas and bland dialog that never really pan out. The action is serviceable in flashes, but is edited to death and employs too much wire work. You can’t see the wires but you can – if you know what I mean? It’s something about the awkward way the actors move through the air as they try to keep their balance and strike a pose. It just doesn’t work all that well, and for me, the time spend flying about would be better spent on the ground fighting. I’ll take Donnie Yen pounding the S*** out of 10 Japanese soldiers in Ip Man any day of the week. Or watch the fantastic fight sequence with Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi from the original Hidden Tiger. Donnie Jen on ice or replaced with CGI – no thanks.
If you enjoyed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and appreciated that it was in Mandarin, then this sequel is not likely going to satisfy you. If you’re just looking for some serviceable martial arts action and hate reading subtitles, then you might get some enjoyment from this film. There isn’t a single action sequence in Sword of Destiny that compares to Hidden Dragon. It’s just not in the same league.
Sword of Destiny got a limited release in theaters, and is available to stream on Netflix. I recommend staying at home to watch this on the TV. Visually it’s kind of a mess, and I didn’t care for the overly color saturated photography.
In one scene, a bunch of mercenaries are introducing themselves. Saying their name, followed by where they’re best known. My favorite was Turtle Ma (Darryl Quon), famed for … this tavern. Apparently Mr. Ma is partial to the odd bevy!