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The White Dragon
The White Dragon
Actors: Cecilia Cheung, Shiu Hung Hui, Lei Liu (III), Francis Ng, Andy On
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
PG-13     2005     1hr 33min


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Movie Details

Actors: Cecilia Cheung, Shiu Hung Hui, Lei Liu (III), Francis Ng, Andy On
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Tai Seng
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 04/19/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French

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Movie Reviews

Great Hong Kong Comedy
Frances Xu | Evanston, IL USA | 06/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One can never understand the humor and spirit in this movie if one does not understand Cantonese or has not lived in Hong Kong. This is meant to be a light-hearted comedy! The dialogs are filled with contemporary everyday Hong Kong slangs! When translated into English, they may seem stupid and out-of-place, but the movie uses these dialogs ON PURPOSE to achieve a brillant level of mocking humor. This is not meant to be an epic, but a very enjoyable movie by all means."
Flying "Dragon"
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 01/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Perhaps the one flaw with "wire-fu" movies is that they tend to take themselves too seriously -- humor is pretty much absent from movies like "Hero" or "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon." That isn't a problem with "White Dragon," a humorous little action/romance flick that never quite gets serious. Not too much, anyway.

Black Pheonix (Cecilia Cheung) is an average airhead schoolgirl -- she thinks about her looks, school, clothes, her looks, the handsome second prince, and her looks. But when the aged hero White Dragon (Nay Suet) is injured, she bestows her powers on Black Pheonix. And a bad case of acne, which White Dragon assures her can be cured by doing good deeds.

Pheonix is starting to enjoy her heroic alter ego -- White Dragon Jr. -- when she is called on to capture the blind assassin Chicken Feathers (Francis Ng). But she breaks her leg during the fight, and to her surprise, Chicken Feathers brings her to his home and nurses her back to health. Now Pheonix must make a choice -- save the blind outlaw, or wed the hunky prince?

When watching this film, do not take it seriously, unless it wants to be taken seriously. The first half of it is an unabashed joke -- where else could you see an ancient Chinese musician smash her lute, while the audience does the wave? McDonald's, baseball, designer handbags, and Latin pop tunes all get name-dropped over the course of the movie. And when Pheonix gets her powers, a downloading bar appears on the bottom of the screen.

The plot sags a bit when Pheonix and Chicken Feathers spend time together at his cottage, and you start wondering when the plot will get moving again. And when it does, some of the humour has gone, as a broken-spirited Chicken Feathers wanders aimlessly through the town. Then it kicks into high gear again, with assassination plots, whirling fight scenes, and a pleasant finale where everything falls into place at last.

While there are moments that smack of cutesiness, like the "my only weak spot is you" line, the love triangle is a remarkably sweet one -- both Chicken Feathers and the prince are nice guys, and it's easy to see how Pheonix would be torn between them. And some twists are unusually sweet ones, such as the idea of Pheonix's flute music allowing Chicken Feathers to "see" the stars.

Cheung is the star as a girlish, selfish airhead, who is unexpectedly called on to be a hero -- a sort of selfish Robin Hood ("Please don't scar my face!"), who throws tantrums when she doesn't get her way. Her Pheonix is enormous fun just to watch. But she can also play a more poignant part. And both Ng and Lei Liu give wonderful performances as the rival lovers.

Pop-culture martial-arts are the order of the day in "White Dragon," an unabashedly silly comedy that also turns in some poignant romance and solid action."
How Phoenix Black Becomes the White Dragon and Falls in Lov
Erika Borsos | Gulf Coast of FL, USA | 03/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I never expected to discover a martial arts film that was funny. This film is humorous and contains satire along with tremendously effective martial arts scenes. There is a great story line and plot, a romantic love triangle with some tension, beautiful scenery, and great cinematography with long shots of fighting in a bamboo forest, along with very creative photography of fight scenes looking down from the bamboo trees onto the fighters. At times, there is the feeling of a video game in progress because occasionally the acting is somewhat exaggerated to emphasize a specific scene, plus there is the insertion of two crossed swords onto the screen, prior to or during a fight. The music within this film is most enjoyable. Different musical styles accompany various scenes which enhances the feeling and sensitivity of the moment. There is Spanish flamenco music, classical music, some Mediterranean Italian sounding music, and extraordinairy flute playing throughout the film.

The characters are developed with great style and creativity. There is Phoenix Black, a pretty and talented female student who plays two musical instruments, the flute and the lute, and dances very sensitively and provocatively. By chance she encounters the blind assassin in the forest, who hears her flute music and is captivated both by her music as well as her fighting skills. Although the assassin is viewed as a criminal, in reality he is doing a service for the community because he only kills corrupt people ... He also shares whatever bounty he collects with the poor.

Phoenix encounters the assassin again at her school where Auntie, the cleaning lady (who in reality is a great fighter) ends up nearly being defeated by the assassin. This great elderly lady martial artist's name includes the word "Dragon". She suffered near fatal injuries during her fight with the blind assassin, she fears she is dying and quickly downloads her special powers to Phoenix who then becomes "The White Dragon". Phoenix fights the assassin on the school grounds where the assassin is even more impressed by her skills and effective powers/techniques. It turns out, the assassin had a goal: to kill the principal of the school who was discovered to have been harassing the female students in a most personal way. The principal signed a confession to this misdeed before he was killed.

The students are in an uproar after learning their principal was killed. Two rival cliques of female students huddle together discussing the strange events of the night before. The cook at the school, named Gene, provides some humourous insights into how it is known when the blind assassin strikes. Gene reveals his discovery that there are always chicken feathers left at every crime where the assassin has struck. Gene has studied the matter thoroughly. He even names the types of chickens whose feathers are floating in the air, after the assassin has sruck.

After Phoenix plays the lute and performs a very beautiful sensual Chinese dance, she captures the attention of the local King's son, Prince Tian Yong. His father rules the territory and they want to bring the assassin to justice. She has a date with the Prince where besides playing the lute and flute for him, they play tennis and roller skate. Eventually, Phoenix ends up fighting the blind assassin and during one highly stylized martial arts encounter, she fractures a leg. The assassin takes pity on her and brings her to his home located on a beautiful lake. When she plays her flute, he falls in love with her. The blind assassin makes her food, creates crutches for her and even builds a wheelchair from wood. She acts petulant and spoiled. She tricks him into buying paper, pen, and ink which she uses to write letters to Prince Tian that are sent by carrier pigeon. She explains her absence with a white lie, telling him she is on tour performing with the school's music and dance troupe. Eventually, her heart is awakened to the plight of the blind assassin and she wants to know how he became blind. She develops empathy toward him after learning his story which is very sad, sensitive and touching.

Despite her tender feelings toward the blind assassin, the plot thickens. Through a highly crafted story-line and via well developed scenes, Phoenix manages to escape from the blind assassin. The assassin is captured by the army of the local warlord/king. Phoenix is torn between trying to save the life of the blind assassin who had treated her so well during captivity or to resume the romance with Prince Tian, who inherited the throne from his father. Prince Tian has become the local ruler - his plans are clear: the blind assassin must be put to death for his crimes. The suspense and drama is immense as Phoenix is forced to choose between the blind assassin and her boyfriend, now the ruler of the realm. Amazingly, chicken feathers provide the the major clue to helping Phoenix resolve her personal conflict and they play a major role in saving the life of the blind assassin. This is a most highly recommended film. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
Not at all what I was expecting. No House of Flying Daggers
Michael Gmirkin | Beaverton, Oregon, USA | 08/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Okay, from about the second I turned this movie on I said "what the hell?"

The English dub starts out with basically a valley girl accent that doesn't appear to fit the movie whatsoever. The movie then goes from bad to worse, with something approximating the Chinese equivalent of a US high school, but set who-knows-when...

The problem with the movie isn't so much the movie itself (though it's pretty bad, if you're not prepared for what it actually is)... The problem is that it's marketed all wrong. By comparing the movie to House of Flying Daggers, a certain expectation is set up that the movie in no way shape or form lives up to.

The bottom line on this movie is that it's largely a satire on the martial arts genre. That's fine and all, but attempting to mask that and make the promotional text on the package make it seem like it's in the realm of other high class, artistic, well-written, and moreover SERIOUS martial arts dramas is disingenuous at the minimum.

If the packaging had made clear that this is a SPOOF of the martial arts genre, I would be less upset about purchasing it. In fact, I WOULD HAVE PURCHASED IT just for that (as I happened to be looking for decent spoofs at the time).

So, I guess what I'm upset about is that the movie isn't what the box says it is.

Now, getting past that, the movie actually has a few rather funny moments (a "power transfer bar," the whole scene rewinding when the heroine asks someone to repeat herself, etc.)... But it's also mixed up with a romantic storyline that tries to be slightly serious. Unfortunately, that puts it at odds with the comedy, and I don't really think it works. If it's going to be funny, and a bit slapstick, it should be funny throughout and not try to redeem itself with romantic drama, etc.

I'd class this closer to send-ups like Kung Pow - Enter The Fist, Where Is Mama's Boy, Kung Phooey! and Shaolin Soccer than films with serious artistic / dramatic intent like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, Iron Monkey, Jet Li's Fearless, House of Flying Daggers, The Legend of the Black Scorpion or Curse of the Golden Flower.

If you're looking for comedy, try this or the former movies. If you're looking for drama and good martial arts, go for the latter ones."