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Dragon review

Peter Chan directs this refreshing film for the martial arts genre

David Cronenberg's A History Of Violence heads east in this period set Chinese martial arts flick about a family man (Donnie Yen) whose dark past comes to light after he reluctantly foils a hold-up.

His act of stupid heroism piques the unwelcome interest of Xu Bai-jiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro), a speccy Sherlock with an amusing grasp of acupuncture and neuroscience.

Their yin-yang dynamic enlivens the interludes between the neatly-staged chop-socky, which starts with an ear sliced off in slo-mo before moving on to more significant body parts.

Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s frenetic, high-kicking thriller runs a full 20 minutes shorter than it did at Cannes in 2011 and feels all the better for it.

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Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.