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White Dragon

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Release Date: 
Martial Arts
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Wilson Yip
Cecilia Cheung
Francis Ng
Bottom Line: 

I am the White Dragon.  You will obey my every wish.  You will bring me muffins when I say yours are too hard.  You will buy me the handbag I want.  You will listen to me regardless of how much I rant and rave at you.  You will cure my acne.

White Dragon is the comedic martial arts film about a young girl named Phoenix (Cheung), a blind assassin named Chicken Feathers (Ng), and a whole bunch of over stuff including a conspiracy for the throne. Phoenix inherits the power of the White Dragon when her chunky aunt is attacked by Chicken Feathers. She uses the power to rob from the rich and give to the poor, until she is injured in battle with the blind man.  He takes her in and cares for her.  Soon, she realizes there is more to him than just the hired killer.

Why Chicken Feathers falls for White Dragon is anyone’s guess.  He was abandoned and picked on as a little boy, so maybe he enjoys her constant whining and throwing things at him.  Other than that, her only appeal is that she’s pretty (which is mentioned in the dialogue some four hundred times), but since he’s blind, what’s the benefit?

White Dragon boasts some neat wire work and ground technique sword fighting, but the scenes are chopped up like celery in a dish of Kung Pao chicken. There are even flashes on screen reminiscent of the 1960s Batman TV show.  The original score by Tommy Wai is poetic, but overused, as the “love theme” shows up every time director Wilson Yip wants to key the audience that a scene is supposed to be meaningful.

If viewers take nothing serious at all about White Dragon, they will most likely enjoy about half the movie.  They will spend the other half suppressing the desire to go Ike Turner on the titular heroine.

The marketing folks at Sony would have viewers compare White Dragon with House of Flying Daggers.  Instead, the film is more of a mash up of old Kung Fu Theater and Bratz! (Phoenix even has three girlfriends she palls around with at school.)  It’s not the goofiest martial arts adaptation (Kung Pow! Enter the Fist), or the most stylish spoof (Kung Fu Hustle), it’s the most adolescent.

The Sony DVD is produced in 1.85:1 widescreen format, with audio in English, French and Chinese. Subtitles are available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Extras include only previews, scene selection and audio setup.

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