It's been too long since FLASHPOINT and SPL, so you'll have to excuse me if my expectations were high for Donnie Yen's return to contemporary action filmmaking.
But yes, they were apparently too high.
There are three good action sequences here, with the middle one being pretty fantastic as Yen takes on a couple dozen baddies through hallways, kitchens, and offices of a big restaurant. Tian Jing plays a female cop/love interest, and she manages a couple fun action sequences…
Director Chen Kaige is best known for sweeping period pieces filled with action and doomed romance, but his latest film tackles some very modern ideas and issues... while still managing to throw in a tiny bit of (well choreographed) action and romance.
The film is messy at times and more than once feels like it's not entirely clear what story it wants to tell, but eventually the ensemble falls into place. It's a commentary of sorts on the ubiquitous nature…
Second best James Franco movie of 2013!*
It's pretty standard '90s action fare, but there are a few highlights including Jason Statham's kick-assery, Franco's unconventional villain, and the fact that the movie recognizes Kate Bosworth's 80lb frame as perfect meth-head material instead of something we should see as attractive.
*After THIS IS THE END, obviously.