Starring: Jason Flemyng, Yao Xingtong, Jackie Chan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anna Churina, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Martin Klebba, Charles Dance, Rutger Hauer, Christopher Fairbank
Screenplay by: Oleg Stepchenko & Alexey A. Petrukhin
Directed By: Oleg Stepchenko
Buy on Amazon.com
Jason Fleming, Yao Xingtong, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger star in this world traveling fantasy adventure Iron Mask. The movie takes all kinds of twists and turns with wizards, martial arts, dragons, prison fights and monsters in a great adventure that’s fun for the whole family.
The movie opens with the telling of the dragon and the healing tea he produces and how the White Wizards protected him, but Black Wizards and booted the white wizards out exiling them to the far reaches of the 1700’s world, with Jackie Chan’s character chained up in the Tower of London with an Iron Mask under the watch of the obsessive prison warden and his collection of artifacts. Will they escape to free the dragon from the black wizard?
The plot of the movie and the title were a bit confusing as it led me to believe this might be a classic re-telling of the Man in The Iron Mask tale; however the subject of the Iron Mask itself is such a minor bit in this smorgasbord of a movie. Without giving too much away, it’s fairly clear that yes Arnold and Jackie Chan are in the film, but they’re more of supporting characters; but its worthy of mentioning that they do a great job of giving the actors equal amounts of screen time so it’s really hard to decipher which characters are the focal point.
Obviously, the cast has quite a bit of familiar faces, some attached for name purposes only. While it’s great we get Charles Dance and Arnold in yet another movie but the 2 never share a scene in case you were waiting for a Last Action Hero rematch. This was one of Rutger Hauer’s last films, but his contribution here seems so minimal it’s not even worthy of getting 2 hyped up about. If we’re going to be real about whom the actual lead stars of the film its Yao Xingtong, Jason Fleming and Li Ma. That being said while the equal screen time of the characters seems like a great touch, after watching a few characters’ screen time seem a bit unnecessary.
Let’s talk about the visuals and audio. This is a pretty great CGI filled experience; the visuals are great providing a great aesthetic to support the fantasy elements of the story. Also worthy of mentioning is the great effort put into the costuming in this film. The Black Wizards exuded a dominant appearance before even displaying their abilities; I really loved the way these characters came across. I should mention it appears parts of this movie were dubbed, as the lip movements of some of the Asian characters don’t match what they’re saying. It should be mentioned that a lengthy intro before the movie opening reveals that the movie is a product of several Chinese investors as well Russian involvement too. While I’m aware China has heavy investment in film making nowadays, it should be noted IMDB states the film first came out in 2019, which leads me to believe this is just a re-release for American audiences. It’s also worth mentioning that while the funding sources would usually leave ones to speculate it may be a bit of propaganda; but in a sense mentions of China and Russia come across in a more positive manner and a lot less of the stereotypical villainy Hollywood has shamefully pedaled for years during the 1980s and 1990s.
The fight scenes and choreography are just as great as you’d expect. With Arnold’s character being a prison warden and Jackie Chan’s character a prisoner, you knew you were going to get that on screen dream battle we’ve been waiting for years. The fight itself is fun, but there’s not much Jackie Chan hasn’t already done that you haven’t seen. And it’s also obvious that 73 year old Arnold had a stunt double, which is forgivable to an extent considering he comes from an era where that was the norm. The final fight scene between Li Ma’s Witch and Yao Xingtong was really cool as well.
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
BD Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM, Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
English SDH, French, Spanish
Bottom Line: Not sure if Covid prevented this from getting a full release in the US, or if it was home release bound the whole time; but this wasn’t the terrible B Movie I thought it was going to be. If it was marketed right it could’ve attracted a decent crowd aside from it not being a superhero movie. Star power aside, it’s a fantasy fun-filled adventure the whole family can enjoy. A great story with tons of twists and turns to brighten up a boring day.