ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2020 – I – The Iron Mask (2019) Movie Review

Director: Oleg Stepchenko

Writer: Dmitry Paltsev, Alexey A Petrukhin, Oleg Stepchenko (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Flemyng, Xingtong Yao, Anna Churina, Jackie Chan, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rutger Hauer, Li Ma, Charles Dance

Plot: English traveller Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng) receives from Peter the Great an order to map the Russian Far East. Once again he sets out for a long journey full of incredible adventures that will eventually lead him to China. The cartographer will unexpectedly face a lot of breathtaking discoveries, encounter bizarre creatures, meet with Chinese Princesses, and confront deadly martial arts masters, and even the King of all dragons, the Dragon King. What could be more dangerous than meeting eye-to-eye with Viy, except doing it again? What would be stronger this time, a staunch skepticism of the scientist or the old black magic that has seized power of Eastern lands?

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Could be A Lot More

Story: The Iron Mask starts as Jonathan Green (Flemyng) recounts his previous adventures before going in search of Peter The Great. His adventure sees him being forced to leave Russia and head east, where he is joined by Cheng Lan (Yao) who proves to be a deadly fighter, while Jonathan’s wife Miss Dudley (Churina) searches for people that can help free him, including a captured Peter, from prison warden James Hook (Schwarzenegger).

With both sides on their own adventures, the two must trust each other to achieve the goal, which will see them needing to fight the unknown forces in the world, learning about China along the way, needing to rescue a princess from a witch.

Thoughts on The Iron Mask

Characters – Jonathan Green in the great explorer that finds himself needing to travel East of Russia, to map out China, he will help a person in danger in Cheng Lan, before finding himself in the middle of a greater battle in China. Cheng Lan becomes the assistant to Jonathan after he rescues her, she can handle herself in combat and is loyal to the person that saves her, leading the fight against the evil in her homeland of China. Miss Dudley is searching for her husband Jonathan, she finds help along the way, proving to be very resourceful.

PerformancesThe performances are one of the most misleading parts of the film, while Jason Flemyng is in fact the lead, he does everything right, with Xingtong Yao as the assistant, we do however have two huge names, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who are both just supporting roles at best in the film.

StoryThe story here follows an explorer who is sent to try and map out China for the Russians, only to find himself in the m idle of a much bigger adventure, trying to save a princess from an evil witch controlling the land. This is a story that is filled with the fantasy elements, which at the core is still about trying to free a land from evil, we see how people from across the world would come together for the greater good. We do have two main stories going on hand in hand, with the plan aiming to meet together for a final battle in the end, which doesn’t give us enough time to connect to the characters, as we are expecting to see and travel with both Jackie Chan’s and Arnold’s characters along the way.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film does blend with the fantasy well, we might well have been expecting certain stars fighting, we even get a tease between two, we are left with a big concluding battle, which helps keep things enjoyable.

SettingsThe film takes us from the Tower of London, Russia, through to China, with the final taking place in a location with a beautiful backdrop.

Special EffectsThe effects are a right mix, we have some dubbing, which comes off terribly, while certain fights look amazingly well arranged.

Scene of the Movie – The little creature that flies with Cheng Lan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The dubbing.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most misleading movies of the year, it is sold on two big names only for them to be nothing more than supporting character, with the main story being routine for a fantasy adventure.

Overall: Easy to watch adventure.

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