Fame Focus:

The Mystery of the Dragon Seal is a Chinese/Russian collaboration which has various different titles depending on your country, these are: Viy2 Journey to China or The Mystery of the Dragon Seal or the Mystery of the Iron Mask. And if you’ve ever wanted to see Jackie Chan fight Arnold Schwarzenegger, WHAT? Yep, this is the film for you!

Fame Focus:

So, how come we’ve never even heard of this film? The answer is that it was a massive flop. Released in 2019, with a budget of $50 million it grossed just $5 million. So, how can a fantasy film with big, beautiful Chinese sets, intricate costume designs, an elaborate, although simple storyline, and a 7-minute fight scene between Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger flop? Well, the film isn’t great. It never gets duller and boring, but it never gets good either.

Fame Focus:

The plot and questionable historical accuracy of the events gives the impression of a fantasy world that’s too fantastical, and a plot that’s been pushed way past realism, without quite reaching satire. But, in reality, the worst thing about this film are the VFX or rather the lack of reality of the VFX. Trehmer Film created ‘the smoke mage’ and whilst the smoke effect they achieved actually looks very realistic, the mage could be straight out of the Mortal Kombat game for the Super Nintendo. In a cavern scene, the Postkino VFX attempted to create a magical feel to the tree roots but the effect looks cheap and the cave looks like one Captain Kirk would have explored back in the 60s.

Fame Focus:

Unfortunately, these weren’t the only effects to fall short of the mark. We have real chains that suddenly turn into unreal ones, swords that could cut changed into toy swords, and finally a dragons’ head that rather than looking fierce and powerful, it looks like it escaped from an old Sinbad movie. The VFX in this film seem like they were either made on a very small budget or they were done by Steve from ‘down the road’ who did it on his mum’s computer. However, if you want to see Jackie and Arnie and have a laugh at a bad film, this is the one to watch.




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