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Review Chasing the Dragon a.k.a. Chui lung (2017): Entertaining but mostly by the numbers gangster flick!

genre: crime, action, drama

Honestly I wasn't expecting that much. But at least I had hoped to gain more insight on Lee Rock and gangster Crippled Ho. Unfortunately Chasing the Dragon is pretty average all around.

Perhaps you think I am being too unfair or harsh. Well, let me give you some background. I am a huge film fan and trust me when I say I have seen a lot of films. All kinds of films. And gangster flicks are amongst my favourite. That is if they are done right. I don't mind if they take dramatic liberties when it concerns real life persons and stories. Sometimes I even welcome it. But you do have to resonate with me on some level. And Chasing the Dragon failed to this. Sure Donnie Yen is an interesting choice to play a gangster. And it certainly is not his fault that he doesn't get to shine more than he did. Together with Andy Lau as Lee Rock they do steal the show. I only wished they had done more with these characters. Story wise most events barely scratch the surface. Of course there is some intrigue and perhaps itsy bitsy tension. But never to a level that I was sitting on the edge of my seat. I also barely cared for the characters and their actions. How can I? If they skip through important events and the impact they have. You basically have to accept facts and go with it. The film does a poor job of letting you know what is exactly at stake. And how powerful the players are. It's vital and relevant to the main characters especially in the finale. 

Production wise the film is top notch. You actually believe that this is Hong Kong set in the sixties and seventies. Costume wise I am not entirely sure. Still the film looks slick and is visually very appealing. The action is decent and entertaining but if you were hoping for Donnie Yen to do his usual thing you will be disappointed. I myself was prepared for this so it wasn't bothersome to me. However I can imagine that some fans secretly hoped for some scenes where Donnie Yen kicks ass. 

Chasing the Dragon had the potential to really tell a true story the right way. Instead it retreads paths that have been taken a million times before. And that is a real shame!

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