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Review Bridge of Dragons (1999): Not even for a rainy Sunday!

genre: action, adventure

Each time when I had the intention to watch this, my gut said not to watch it. The brief action sequences, in the trailer, made it seem that I was at least going to enjoy the action. But I wasn't sure about everything else.

Well, this is probably going to be the first time I can't defend a film even when the action is decent. But more about the action later. There are some puzzling elements in Bridge of Dragons that will have you scratching your head. To start with the setting. The people in this world seem to be wearing predominantly medieval clothes. The soldiers however are wearing WWII / Nazi type uniforms. As much as I wanted to, these don't match.

The same can be said about the weapons and tools. Most of them look medieval. But the firearms look like they are ripped from the contemporary world. The army trucks and helicopters also look out of place. Not once does it feel like those belong. It's pretty confusing not being able to tell where events take place or what time and date. Is it even Earth? Since this is filmed in Bulgaria, apparently one of the cheapest countries to film, I am going to assume that the different kind of uniforms and tools are thrown together since those were the only things they could afford. Unfortunately, the whole perception of the film is that it is cheaply made. I guess the world is supposed to be post-apocalyptic, although to make a world like that convincing, you need to back that up with some good art and visuals. That is not the case here. 

Normally, I really wouldn't care so much, but even in an action flick the minimal story has to be compelling. If only to intensify the action sequences. And here is my biggest issue with the film. I was bored. I usually can really appreciate the slow-motion. Actually, that was one of the main reasons I wanted to check this out, since it seemed very reminiscent of a John Woo film. At least in the footage I had seen. Except, it definitely is not even close to what the master could offer even on a bad day. It all seems so easy and yet, John Woo, even today, has not met his match yet. 

Director Isaac Florentine also commits the ultimate sin of having a hero who is invincible. He can stand in the open shooting all the goons, while the overwhelming number of enemies come at him, and they all get shot. At least, Woo made his characters do all kinds of stunts and acrobatics to avoid being shot. Princess Halo (played by Valerie Chow) for example is shown to be able to kick ass except when it's really necessary. Why make such a big deal about that and then not use it later in film when it matters. Maybe have Warchild severely wounded, to which she is motivated to come into action and very dramatically fend off goons. I mean, it would have been a simple but very effective way to create some intense action.

I really tried to like this, but the fact is, that I was mostly bored. Look when it comes to action, or rather good action, I am not that demanding. Although I do need a little more sophistication. And that simply is not present in this flick. So no, I can't really recommend this. Not even for a rainy Sunday!

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