Far far away in the south of Heavenly Empire there lived a Great Dragon. His eye lashes went deep into the ground and came back up as beautiful plants healing the souls & bodies of those who suffered. People called the leaves of this plant Tea and the glory of its strength spread far & wide. Soon the great dragon found men to take care of his eye lashes also preserving the healing properties of tea. They were called The White Wizards. The Great Dragon made a magical seal and gave it to the wizards he trusted the most, The Master, his daughter and the princes.
Merchants from all over the world traded great witches for Tea. But then some of the wizards become greedy, they went to the evil side, to control the dragon. These black wizards are lead by the two faced witch. She raises an ancient army to take the dragons cave. To get more tea, they stop trimming the dragons eye lashes. His eyes become heavy and he falls into a deep sleep.
The White Wizards fought to free the great dragon, but the Black Wizards are too powerful and there evil forces capture The Master & The Princess putting them into prisons on opposite sides of the world.
Director Oleg Stepchenko's follow up to his hit film of 2014 Forbidden Kingdom, a Russian & Chinese co-produced film this time brings in Jackie Chan (The Master) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (James Hook – in charge of the tower of London prison), as actors and producers, into the mix. It is a full-on fantasy, martial arts, spectacle. Jason Flemying of Snatch, and more recently Pennyworth fame, plays Jonathon Green, an English Cartographer who is ordered by the Russian czar Peter The Great to map the Russian Far East. Queue lots of adventures on his journey which eventually lead him to China. There he will help advert the evil witch, from obtaining the Dragon Seal and ruling the world. Returning cast are Charles Dance and the great late Rutger Hauer. Xintong Yao is The Masters daughter and Christopher Fairbank pops up as well in the tower of London scenes.
Forbidden Kingdom was a surprise hit in Russia. I did not see it but I`m intrigued after watching this. This is an enjoyable fantastical adventure story. It is a bit slow at the start, builds up nicely to the second act, which does lead to an exciting final. Some of the dubbing, reminded me of the classic dubbing from the 70s for Kung Fu films. I do hope that a non-dubbed, original language version of the film will be released.
All in all its an enjoyable caper – I did read that it took two years to edit. Due to disagreements between the producers. It is a bit of a mis mash of genres. Don`t expect hard hitting fight scenes. Jackie and Arnie do square off, but like the way that Schwarzenegger plays James Cook, It is all too pantomime at times.
Signature Entertainment presents The Iron Mask on Digital HD 10th from April 2020