The Dark Knight combines the new craze of Cobra Kai, with a touch of James Bond, 70’s Style action and an obvious Bruce Lee, in this solid offering by DC…..
While the live action input from DC is still yet to match anything that MARVEL has managed to do, its animation studio is still the one to beat, with some stunning additions over the years and a growing fanbase waiting for the next film to add to their growing collection.
Over the last few years, Batman himself has branched out from the usual bad guys and fought against Ninjas in ancient Japan, had to stop Jack The Ripper himself from adding to his murderous collection, to even bizarrely meeting up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and now thanks to his new release, he goes all Enter The Dragon, which will appease the older kids who have the long wait until season four of Cobra Kai hits NETFLIX.
Directed by the acclaimed Sam Liu who brought the Russian Superman story to animated life, BATMAN: Soul Of The Dragon oozes with 70’s style vibe, with an opening that is so clearly a James Bond homage that will leave you with a huge smile on your face, just as the credits start to roll.
Set basically in the “ELSEWORLDS” banner, Bruce (David Giuntoli) is living in 70’s GOTHAM, when he is visited by an old friend Richard Dragon – clearly influenced by Bruce Lee and voiced by Mark Dacascos, who needs help as some bad guys have managed to get their hands on this mysterious “The Gate” and once opened the world will be in peril.
Its here we see flashbacks in how Bruce met Richard, as before he put on the iconic suit, our Bruce climbed a mountain somewhere in the Far East to be trained by the mystical O-Sensei (James Hong) where he also met fellow students Lady Shiva (Kelly Hu), and Ben Turner (Michael Jai White).
In the present time, the foursome get back together to stop this new threat, resulting in many scenes of Kung Fu shindigs and some pretty violent scenes that may have the youngsters watching, covering their eyes in horror. Trust me, with some beheading and punching a stone until your fists bleed, this is more aimed for an older audience than young kids just hoping for their next fix of Batman.
Fans familiar with the character DRAGON may be surprised in how he is portrayed here. Created in the 70’s this was a character who was a martial art thief who ended up training the likes of Oracle but here he is a 007 kind of Spy, with the Lee Look. Interestingly, this is his film, with the character of Bruce Wayne taking a back step and surprisingly only wearing the suit on two occasions through out.
This may annoy the Bat Fans, but for me personally, it added a much needed and welcome freshness to the franchise, especially as it introduced comic book characters to a more universal playing field.
Not of all it works! The endless fight scenes get a tiny bit tiresome, along with the flashbacks and the climax doesn’t really end on a perfect note, but for DC to offer up an intriguing spin on Bat Lore, then it delivers a lot more than you expect.
The film is awash with an homage of 70’s Kung Fu cinema and while the animation is not exactly Disney, you need to ask yourself what PIXER film offers up a scene where after a bad guy after he has had sex with a prostitute, then feeds her to his collection of poisonous snakes?
That scene along with its outstanding Bond style opening, shows once again, that MARVEL may lead the way for Live Action, but DC karate kicks all the competition when it comes to this Superhero genre…..