Donnie Yen second attempt at playing Chen Zhen is much better because he’s not imitating Bruce Lee, but it unfortunate the movie is poorly paced with action sequences that are too quick for full enjoyment.
Donnie Yen no doubt is man of action proven by his Ip Man movies, but when your taking on a legendary character like Che Zhen, who’s a real martial artist, you have to have the right balance of action and drama. The action sequences are well made, but unfortunately short or too fast for our enjoyment. Which is a real shame, I mean the prologue in this movie (one of the best I’ve seen since Goldeneye) gets you excited into watching this and is a real let down when you watch the whole thing.
The story simply put this way, seven years after the apparent death of Chen Zhen, who was shot after discovering who was responsible for his teacher’s death in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. A mysterious stranger arrives from overseas and befriends a local mafia boss. That man is a disguised Chen Zhen, who intends to infiltrate the mob when they form an alliance with the Japanese. Now while it’s sounds good on paper, execution of it was poor in mu opinion. It could have definitely been better in terms of it story, but there’s enough good moments in the story to keep you entertain.
I have to praise Donnie Yen for learning from his mistake for imitating Bruce Lee in his first portrayal of Chen Zhen. He does a better job in this one not imitating Bruce Lee and feels more like a Donnie Yen movie than a bruceploitation movie.
Overall it’s a okay movie with well done action sequences that are too fast and unevenly pace throughout the movie. If you want a good portrayal of Chen Zhen, I recommend Fist of Legend and The Chinese Connection.