Enter the Fat Dragon

For a film titled Enter the Fat Dragon, the film doesn’t stew in heavyweight humour or reminisce on kung-fu nostalgia.  When it does, it’s brief and appropriately justified for the story.  A breath of fresh air when compared to other comedies that cash in on references and obvious prosthetics.

Martial arts star Donnie Yen (Big Brother) is unrecognizable as Fallon Zhu, even before Yen dons his fat suit.  Zhu is clean-cut and fit, but he’s also a dork who perceives himself as a hot shot in his own mind.  His reputation also precedes him, primarily being known for his selfishness and stubbornness.  After a devastating breakup from his long-time girlfriend, actress Chloe Song (Niki Chow) and a mishap involving criminals, he’s reassigned to duties in an evidence room where he eats away his sorrow.  Now, much bigger and more vulnerable than before, Zhu is tipped off on a crime ring that is bubbling in Tokyo.  Taking on the assignment, Zhu dives into the new case to reclaim his reputation as a legendary officer.

The action sequences are over-the-top, but choreographed extremely well and performed amazingly by Yen and his co-stars.  Yen’s added challenge to contribute to these fights while in pudgy prosthetics is a goofy challenge, but he rises to the occasion as he consistently impresses the audience with his endurance.  The film’s story is equally goofy, with plenty of jabs aimed towards Tokyo’s unresponsive and incompetent police force (no clue if there’s any truth to that) as well as physical humour and banter between Zhu and locals in Tokyo’s restaurant district.  The latter comedy rivals the hilarity of Kung Fu Hustle.  And while the story may be a typical cops-and-robbers plot, it’s written and directed in a way that positions characterization before fulfilling the genre’s tropes.  A risky move that pays off due to dedicated direction by Kenji Tanigaki and skilled screenwriting by Kin-Hung Chan, Koon-Nam Lui, and Jing Wong.

Nevermind that slightly misleading title.  Enter the Fat Dragon is much more than cheap belly laughs.


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