Today's DVDs & Blu-rays: Dragon, A Monster in Paris and Escapee
Seems we've been deluged with fight films lately and today's release is among our favorite lately. Action star Donnie Yen plays an unassuming peasant who just happens to be an expert fighter in hiding in Peter Ho-Sun Chan's wuxia flick, Dragon (Wu Xia). The film is a reworking of David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, which was based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke. Yen (who also choreographed the action scenes) is thrilling on screen. The plot details aren't as important as the fight scenes Chan uses to move from point A to point B. Basically, Yen's peasant/fighter is a good guy with a bad past. When it catches up to him, he does everything he can to save his family, including cutting off his ... oh wait, that would be a spoiler, wouldn't it?
A Monster in Paris (Un monstre à Paris) hasn't quite gotten the wide audience it deserves. The CGI/animated film, directed by Bibo Bergeron, is delightfully illustrated and the plot has enough good guys vs. bad guys moments to keep kids on the edge of their seats. Sean Lennon, Catherine O'Hara, Adam Goldberg and Jay Harrington voice the English language version we saw which follows a group of off-beat friends in 1910 Paris who befriend a beast and try to keep him safe when authorities close in. (Think Beauty and the Beast, but with Beauty and a whole lot of her friends.) This is fun family fare with a good story and great music.
Last of today's reviews is Escapee, a middle of the pack horror flick. Christine Evangelista plays Abby, a psychology student who stumbles onto a dangerous patient, Dominic Purcell as Harmon, during a field trip to a mental hospital. Abby has a particularly strong effect on Harmon who, after her visit, breaks out of the hospital to find her. It's the usual chills and thrills made better by Purcell (Prison Break) who's able to find more in the script that the others.