After almost two decades after his last directorial effort, Donnie Yen returns behind the camera for the martial arts mystery Sakra. New from Well Go USA on Blu-ray.
Few things are greater in the cinematic world than a great mash-up of genres. When done correctly it’s the equivalent of getting peanut butter in your chocolate (or vice versa). When done incorrectly it’s insufferable to sit through. Thankfully for us, Director/Star Donnie Yen’s Sakra is the latter and none of the former. His adroit mix of Wuxia, fantasy, and mystery make this one more memorable entry as of late.
The Liang and Song Empires are at war. Qiao Feng (Yen) is a casualty of that war, orphaned as a child, and enlisted into the Khitan gang/rebels. Qiao rises to the ranks of leadership. As the leader Qiao is framed for the murder of his best friend. Slowly but surely those closest to Qiao are killed including his adoptive parents. The blame is placed on him, and friends and allies soon become enemies and traitors. Qiao has one choice, find the person who is framing him before he is killed.
Sakra is a methodically intelligent film. The mystery at the center of the film is as good as the martial arts set pieces. It’s genuinely noirish in the way that the film unfolds as Qiao begins to investigate who is responsible. Rather than pushing the action the film smartly dives deeply into the crimes and the detective work done by Qiao.
That isn’t to say the film skimps in any way on the action. Like many of Yen’s best efforts, the action is fast and furious with the action legend taking on multiple opponents at the same time. It never gets old seeing Yen, who’s nearing 60, in beautifully choreographed action scenes. The final action scene where Yen takes on not just his gang of rebels but the Shaolin monks who trained him and the enemies who have teamed up with the rebels is a truly awesome display of action storytelling.
The only quibble about Sakra is that it appears to be the beginning of a series. One only wishes they could see part two – whatever the title may be – as soon as humanly possible. In that regard, Donnie Yen’s Sakra is a success.
The transfer provided to Well Go USA is another beautifully produced handsome image. The care taken with this transfer is how all studios should take care with their Blu-Ray releases.
They include the following;
- Making of Featurette
- Original trailer
Making of Featurette (5:43) – this all-too-brief making-of-featurette is a great EPK-style look at the martial arts, characters, story, and setting of the film. There’s some great B-Roll footage of Yen and Company making the film. Comments by Donnie Yen, and other cast and crew. Cantonese with English Subtitles.
Original trailer (2:11)
The Final Thought
Sakra is a great example of Donnie Yen doing what he does best. Recommended!!