Dragon Eyes (2012)

Posted in Reviews by - December 12, 2014
Dragon Eyes (2012)

Gritty urban decay film, captured with great atmosphere by John Hyams (son of Timecop director Peter Hyams), who stages handheld slug-fests to slow motion and guitar feedback, and drenches cavernous film sets in pools of shadow and spotlight – all very effectively. The story takes on a familiar unknown-avenger bent akin to Yojimbo and sets the action among the contemporary gang warfare of a tough, fictitious inner-city neighbourhood called Saint Jude – the patron saint of lost causes. Vietnamese MMA fighter Cung Le plays the evangelical figure of Hung, fresh from the clink and on a messianic mission to clean up this town from the growing onslaught of violent street thugs. Their headmaster is suited drug baron Paul RoboCop Walker, named Mister V, who has stepped straight out of a Tarantino movie. Van Damme appears in about four flashback sequences. He’s a Sun Tzu-like battle sage who teaches Hung some fighting techniques when they are both in the slammer, along with his own lofty wisdom. “You’ve got two tigers inside you,” he says with solemn authority, and it’s hard not to be convinced by Van Damme’s earnest instructor persona. After all, he paved the way for this kind of B movie in the early 90s. Cung Le doesn’t need to say much, however he’s very good at smashing skulls and does well as the hardened ex-con distracted by his own inner demons. But ultimately it’s Hyams’ directing which gives the film an edge.

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