After closing Ip Man’s journey in his fourth film, Donnie Yen returned to acting in the action comedy genre through the film Enter the Fat Dragon . Directed by veteran stuntman Kenji Tanigaki with a script by Wong Jinga, there are plenty of jokes thrown in. Some are able to invite laughter, others are crispy.
This film tells the story of Fallon Zhu (Doonie Yen), a police officer who always wants to do good. He is dumped by his fiancé, Chloe (Niki Chow), a lesser-known actress, after he wants to catch bank robbers and forgets about their pre-wedding photos. Resulting in a lot of trouble, Zhu was eventually transferred behind a desk, eating only junk food which brought him to 116 kg.
Zhu is finally sent on a mission to bring the fugitive back to Tokyo. Unexpectedly, Zhu deals with a group of Yakuza heroin dealers who hire Chloe to appear at an event where the heroin is stored. The film also shows how Zhu tries to uncover the Yakuza’s trading practices and win back his ex’s heart.
Fun with a light story
Donnie Yen’s name is always known in action films with high fighting intensity. Like the Ip Man tetralogy which just premiered in theaters last December to the spin-off Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy (2018) . And this time, Donnie brings various fight scenes through a comedy film like a Jackie Chan movie in the 80s.
The story given is light and easy to digest. Some of the problems given are also easy to find in everyday life. Choosing a job or a partner, understanding between partners, and even the process of finding one’s identity are the problems experienced by the main character.
The action scenes occur with a solid tempo, but still provide a balanced pace between fighting, humor, and the drama of life. The plot is not so solid, some details and story development still seem rough. But not too big to interfere with the enjoyment of watching it.
Not just comedy
For those who don’t know, the film Enter the Fat Dragon is titled the same as the film of the same genre that starred Sammo Hung in 1978. The film itself has no connection other than the title and references to Bruce Lee’s character. The difference is, Sammo Hung has a fairly stocky body, while Donnie Yen has to wrap his body with prosthetics.
Not just action films and jokes, various innuendos are still echoed. What is most noticeable is the collusion that occurs in the police who seem to turn a blind eye to the crimes committed by the Yakuza. The police concerned also stopped a murder case and considered it a suicide.
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Social satire can also be seen from various uniquely translated scenes. Like how the media compete with each other for ratings, to engineer events with bombastic news. And do not forget the problems of love and turmoil that can happen to anyone.
Not only thuds and jokes are given. There are many messages conveyed from beginning to end. It may sound cliché, but this film shows that everything that is done seriously will definitely pay off.
Visual effects and prosthetic body
This is not the first time Donnie has wrapped his body in a prosthetic. In a 2015 commercial, the actor who had choreographed the stuntman in Blade II (2002) also played a costume. It took three to four hours for Donnie to do makeup on his face and ‘add’ the weight.
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The result is as seen in the trailer. His stocky body was jumping up and down and fighting against a bunch of Yakuza. Although on several occasions Donnie looks too agile for someone who weighs more than 100 kg. Not to mention that some prosthetic body movements look very fake.
Problems in effects can be called one of the weaknesses of this film. No offense, but some Indonesian films have a more real effect. The CGI is clearly felt. Even though some of the effects are used for the needs of the action and the jokes. So at least it can be ignored.
Comedy issues are all about taste. Maybe some of the scenes and humor seem boring, dry or too forced for some viewers. In the sensitive era and the Me Too movement, some jokes still carry gender issues and make women as mere supporting characters.
Comedy and action are indeed a fun spectacle to watch with family or just for entertainment. But the film Enter the Fat Dragon also offers a touching drama between loss and the desire to understand each other. And this film is able to present it quite well.
Unfortunately the story is still the same problem. There is no depth to the story and some imperfect details are arguably weaknesses that reduce the enjoyment of watching this film. But it’s nice to see Donnie Yen back in the comedy genre. And for entertainment in Chinese New Year 2020, Enter the Fat Dragon can be an option.