Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Donnie Yen swaps his martial arts skills for his dramatic talent in “Polar Rescue”

Donnie Yen, the legendary martial artist, breaks his usual butt-kicking role and showcases his dramatic talent in “Polar Rescue,” a film by Well GO USA, directed and written by Lo Chi-Leung. In this movie, Yen plays Ah De, a man with a seemingly idyllic life with his wife, Xuan (Cecilia Han), and their two children. However, after a minor argument with his son, the boy goes missing, and the situation escalates as local authorities are called to search for him.

As Ah De embarks on his mission to find his son, he fearlessly defies the orders of the local police and confronts the unforgiving forces of nature and a ruthless group of kidnappers. The film also features compelling flashbacks that expose the underlying family issues that plague Ah De, which most husbands and fathers can relate to. Yen and the production team are confident in their approach to this film, knowing that Yen’s audiences eagerly anticipate a formidable display of martial arts.

Significantly, multiple scenes in this movie invite predictions of an imminent martial arts showdown only to abruptly remind us we are watching a drama, not a combat spectacle. Despite it all, Yen and his fellow actors and director tried their best to pull it off convincingly. The end product is an emotionally striking Lifetime movie, emotionally stirring yet not entirely satisfying, as we’re reminded that Donnie Yen isn’t confined merely to impressive martial arts stunts but also hones acting skills.
The supporting cast in the film exhibits a surprising degree of screen visibility, often outshining the lead actor, Yen, despite the latter being billed as the star. Notably, the film captures several uniquely Chinese themes, including nationalism, respect for authority, and optimistic stereotypes. These themes are visible in Chinese films under strict governmental guidelines despite claims of creative freedom and diversity.

Notably, the film embodies several Chinese themes that are only sometimes visible in globally distributed movies. Specifically, it pays homage to Chinese nationalism, embraces the importance of respecting authority, and perpetuates optimistic stereotypes. This theory is especially surprising given that the film was created under stringent governmental guidelines that are only sometimes conducive to creative freedom or diversity.

The presence of the supporting cast and the film’s thematic elements contribute to an intriguing and engaging viewing experience that is both culturally significant and artistically compelling. Though these recurrent themes do not impede the viewer experience, they persistently underpin the film’s plot. Notably, without revealing any spoilers, multiple instances throughout the film demand that viewers suspend disbelief and reconcile themselves with unsettling events on screen – though such moments do not stifle our cinematic exploration.

Final Grade: B-
“Polar Rescue” Debuts on Blu-ray™ & Digital March 26

Movie Clappers

More reviews to explorer


Sugar is enjoyable throwback style mystery

Academy Award Nominee Colin Farrell returns his talents to the small screen in “Sugar” from Apple TV. Iconic screenwriter Mark Protosevich served as showrunner and wrote four episodes. Fernando Meirelles directs all episodes of the series. John Sugar (Farrell), an American private investigator, is investigating the mysterious disappearance of Olivia Siegel (Sydney Chandler).

Diarra from Detroit mixes comedy and mystery

Diarra Kilpatrick, an Emmy Award-winning actress, has partnered with the esteemed executive producer Kenya Barris to showcase her talents in the comedic mystery series “Diarra from Detroit,” exclusively available on the BET+ streaming platform. The narrative follows Diarra (portrayed by Kilpatrick), who is currently undergoing divorce proceedings with Francois, also known as Swa (played by Morris Chestnut). She relocates to her old community after receiving counsel from her confidant, Aja (played by Dominque Perry), and colleague, Mr. Tea (played by Bryan Terrel Clark).

Manhunt is an engaging true crime miniseries

Apple TV has brought to life James L. Swanson’s critically acclaimed non-fiction book “Manhunt” in the form of an enthralling TV series with the same name. The show’s plot revolves around the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the subsequent hunt for John Wilkes Booth, the culprit behind the heinous crime. The program is directed by Carl Franklin and overseen by Monica Beletsky, who serves as the showrunner, ensuring a well-crafted narrative that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.