Produced by everyone favorite reality TV Policeman Steven Seagal, Dragon Heat is an action film that really looks very good. It contains hyper-accelerated action footages with a professional style of quality. A team of young agents, Andy, Vanness and Cheung arrives in Hong Kong to produce testimony in a trial against a local crimelord Tiger Duen with local cops Lok and Suet together. However, during prisoner transport to the courthouse, a ruthless mercenary team led by Petros assaults the armed convoy. Interpol is humiliated while the op is led by a veteran cop Kong Lung, who recognizes the group is made up of known terrorists. Kong is very reluctant to get involved in another operation until he gets inspired by his young charges who rises to the occasion. They come together to form “Dragon Squad” in the hunt for Petros.
Dragon Heat is a difficult movie to review as I feel I was more disapointed in it because I expected more from the cast. You can tell that the direction has the Bruckheimer influence with its cool quick cuts, while the gunfights still have that John Woo inspiration. It seems like they had a series of key frames in mind when they produced shots, and decided to throw the rest of the movie around them. Editing this movie must have taken an insane amount of time, as each minute of action has at least 20 cuts. The story is barely there, and any emoting is purely on the strength of the actors, whom I have seen in better movies. Maggie Q is underutilized in an almost throwaway role.
Since each faction had at least 5-6 main characters to figure out, they could have cut half the cast and the story would have been better for it. Here are a lot of characters, a lot of action scenes, and a lot of tragic moments handled of course in pure Hong Kong style. The movie is downright beautiful at times, and Sammo Hung of course is as impressive as always. Though no one really ends up happy in this film, almost everyone does go out with quite a bang. Dragon Heat plays like a live-action video game.It is up to you wheter or not to take that as a bad statement or not.
Besides the aforementioned cast, the rest of the characters are rounded out by cardboard cutouts whose only real purpose is to fire at our protagonists and give them something to fire back at. When it comes to pure balls-to-the-wall action that is going to satisfy your need for hails of bullets, there is still no other source more reputable than Hong Kong to turn to. This is a difficult film to describe. It’s not a great movie but its not a bad one either. Much of the film is shot using a handheld camera and at first the camera work is so shaky it’s difficult to watch. But all in all, I come for the action and I got some great fights and an explosive finale that made me walk away slightly satisfied.