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We Watched That (So You Didn’t Have To): John Cusack and Jackie Chan’s VOD Historical Action Epic, ‘Dragon Blade’

How bad is the direct-to-VOD John Cusack–Jackie Chan movie? Let us take you on a journey.

Peace. Be still. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid, not of the soiled world surrounding you, physically or philosophically. For I now serve as an example of sanctification. For I sit here before you a man, a man who has been pulled from wretchedness; a man once wicked but now redeemed; a man once occupied by resentful thoughts and sinful pride but now calm and pure in spirit; a man once tethered to the ignorance of his own existence but now freed to float in the ether of purity. For I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen a karate history movie starring Jackie Chan and John Cusack and Adrien Brody set in 48 B.C. about the warring factions along China’s historic Silk Road trade route — but really about so many other things, about life, my life, your life, all lives. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen an actual eagle, mind-controlled by one soldier, attack the charging warhorse of another soldier and then defeat that warhorse by clawing the warhorse in the face a single time, and later I saw hundreds of eagles fight hundreds of soldiers in the same manner. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has watched Jackie Chan in any number of films — in a near countless number of films. There was one where he played a man who operated a fast food van and had to become a hero. There was one where he played a man in South Africa with amnesia who had to become a hero. There was one where he teamed up with a white man to become a hero and also one where he teamed up with a black man to become a hero, not once, not twice, but thrice. And now I have seen him wear a very thick wig and a poet’s goatee and a very generous amount of makeup and sing about racial harmony and total peace and then make a deathmobile out of shields and spears and then become a hero. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen John Cusack, waifish and noodle-armed, play commander of an excommunicated legion of Roman soldiers, of which he is the best and most legendary fighter. I’ve seen him and his soldiers swear to protect an especially creepy child who was blinded and barely capable of being alive — but is such a ferociously talented singer that he brings soldiers, all soldiers, to tears. And then I saw the child and his primary caretaker get forced off the ledge of a 100-story building by the villainous Adrien Brody,1 fire-balling down to earth, fire-balling down to death. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.


1.

Dragon Blade is largely terrible, but Adrien Brody makes for a surprisingly great bad guy.

Dragon-Blade-2

I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Jackie Chan fight John Cusack, and Chan did a pretty OK job of keeping a straight face even though he surely realized he was fighting John Cusack. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has watched a collection of Chinese soldiers led by Chan karate-dance-battle a collection Roman soldiers led by Cusack inside of a prison. And after the karate-dance battle, I saw them, the Chinese and the Romans, become brothers, become brothers who inspired 36 races inside the prison to also become brothers, and then also to become master engineers and architects and rebuild an entire city in 15 days. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Jackie Chan refuse to fight a woman. And during the non-fight I saw him accidentally touch her breasts, and then accidentally lift the veil covering her face, and then they were alone in a room together and he took a sip of wine and she removed all of her clothes in a single motion and he ran away because he didn’t have any intentions of being romantic with her because he was already married to a woman who taught orphans of different races to sing and clap together. The naked woman, though, she didn’t know that, or at least didn’t care about it, because after someone removes a woman’s veil on the Silk Road, that means they’re married (I think), so she thought Chan was married to her. Or something. I don’t know. Fuck. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen John Cusack chained to a large wooden block by Adrien Brody and his evil army, and then later seen Cusack with his eyes carved out of his head, and then seen Chan shoot him in the throat with an arrow to put him out of his misery because not only was he missing his eyes, but he was also being set on fire. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen a very skilled fighter throw a sword at Adrien Brody during battle, and then seen Adrien Brody catch the sword in midair by the blade. And then I saw Adrien Brody smugly look at the guy who threw the sword at him, then pause for half a beat, and then say — and I swear to god he said this — he said …

… he fucking said …

… he said, “Good throw.” Then he cut the guy’s arm off and stabbed him in the back, killing him. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Jackie Chan moved to tears during a monologue, a monologue he gave about the period in the movie when the people of the 36 nations who used the Silk Road worked together toward harmony, and that monologue included the line, “During that precious time, it felt as though we were giving birth to a newborn child of hope.”

I sit here before you a man, a man who believes in Jackie Chan’s newborn child of hope, who needs Jackie Chan’s newborn child of hope, who will give his life to protect Jackie Chan’s newborn child of hope.

I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade, a man who has been changed.