Enter the Fat Dragon shares it’s name with a 1978 film although it can’t really be called a remake since the name is about all it shares with that movie.
Fresh from the IP Man 4 Donnie Yen (“Rogue One“, “IP Man”) takes on Fallon Zhu, a role that’s somewhat different from his slightly emotionless IP man. Zhu is a heart broken police man who can’t seem to do anything right who learns to find comfort in food but that’s before he’s shipped off to Japan to protect a witness.
I liked the way the story didn’t just start when Fallon was chunky but started earlier so the audience could see his heart break and understand why he’d become that way. Yen is great in the role and manages to add humour to fight sequences as well as sincerity to the more serious parts.
The storyline itself wasn’t anything very original, it’s the rather usual under valued cop (Zhu) goes up against a powerful crime lord, Shimakura. I didn’t go into the movie expecting to be blown away by originality, I went for a bit of a laugh and to see some awesome action sequences, of which there were plenty, as such I wasn’t disappointed.
Enter the Fat Dragon is a comedy, it doesn’t take itself too seriously so, so long as you’re not expecting anything like IP man you’ll probably have a good time. The movie is at times very silly, but it’s light hearted and fast paced enough for you to be swept along for the ride without complaint.
Donnie Yen of course has plenty of thoroughly entertaining fight scenes which to me had a bit of a Jackie Chan flavour to them. The Yakuza crime lord Shimakura, Joey Tee (“Red Blade”, “Demekin”), plays his part as well as Yen plays his, his gritty and fast paced fighting style was not only really impressive to watch but actually looked tough.
The one thing I wish they’d have made more of though was Zhu being fat. Yen run’s and fights like himself, not like someone 3 times his body weight, it’s almost as if the fat-suit was a gimmick rather than being integral to his character. It would have been amusing to see him stop mid action to take a breather or use his body weight as a weapon. A missed opportunist methinks.
Some of the action sequences were done with wires which while mostly looked OK but in some scenes it could have been done better – the first time Yen climbs a lamp post sticks in my mind as being particularly false.
Yen’s fat suit at times does look a little bit plasticky but that doesn’t really detract from the film in the same way it would if Enter the Fat Dragon was a serious movie. Actually Zhu’s chubbiness is rather endearing so it’s easy to look past it.
If there’s one thing the film could have done without it was that incredibly irritating translator Maggie, Jessica Jann (“Easy A”, “Lethal Weapon 4”). Her role is small and hardly noticeable when Zhu first arrives in Japan but she gets increasingly whiny and irritating as the film goes on culminating in some utter nonsense with a helicopter at the end. Her entire role seemed like a forced attempt at humour that detracts from the movie as a whole.
If you’re a fan of Donnie Yen as I am and love martial arts movies that aren’t either badly dubbed or hammy then Enter The Fat Dragon bit just be the light-hearted action comedy you’ve been looking for. It you liked you martial arts movies brutal and without humour then you’ll probably have to look elsewhere.