In an obvious homage to Bruce Lee’s classic film, Enter the Dragon, Donnie Yen stars in Enter the Fat Dragon. In this action comedy, Yen stars as Fallon Zhu, a ripped hardcore action cop who doesn’t play by the rules. Millions caused in property damage? No problem. Though his bosses may hate him cause he’s reckless, he gets the job done. Hong Kong calls him by many names “Jackass of the century” and “reincarnation of Bruce Lee” but, after being demoted and losing the love of his life, he becomes a washed-up deadbeat, inflating from a tight 145lbs to 250 lbs. When he finds himself entangled in a case that could make or break his career, Zhu must fight those in his way and, maybe, win back the girl as well.
Donnie Yen as an actor has had many successes over his career, but he can’t help be compared to Bruce Lee’s success and achievements and continues to be viewed as a less talented version of the martial arts icon. In this way, Enter the Fat Dragon feels like this may be Yen’s way of addressing the shadow of Lee’s that he has lived in throughout his entire life. (Even the title of the film is a self-mocking parody of Bruce Lee’s most famous film, Enter the Dragon.) With this in mind, the film speaks to the theme of accepting one’s true self and being who you are. When Fallon becomes overweight and loses his girlfriend Chloe, they fight about the career paths they’ve taken and who they are as people. He is constantly ridiculed for his weight (even by Chloe). Later in the film, as he gets his confidence back, he begins to fight like he once did, he realizes who he is and gains new perspective on his identity (and his relationship with Chloe as well). Similarly, Chloe also begins to have the same realization about her own life. Looking back on the path that she’s had to take to reach success as a second-rate actress, she begins to have an identity crisis and questions her decisions along the way. Both Zhu and Chloe must decide whether to accept each other’s paths and who they are, flaws and all.
In the same way, this also seems symbolic of Yen’s journey of having to accept being his own person as well. He will never be the next Bruce Lee but he doesn’t need to be. Clearly, Yen has accepted the career path he’s had and who he is and he as a person.
Once again, Yen is able to bring the action we’ve seen with previous movies hits of his career. The comedy works really well with the contrast of super choregraphed intense action that makes great use of their environments. The characters are also very endearing, and even relatable with their struggles. All around, Enter the Fat Dragon is a hilarious action comedy that does the martial arts genre justice. As always, Yen pops off the screen and long-time fans of his will truly appreciate the story played out through the film.
Enter the Fat Dragon is available on VOD and DVD/Blu-Ray now.