March 10th, 2014

DR. WEI IN THE SCRIPTURES WITH NO WORDS (1996) **

Jet Li stars as a writer who is going through a messy divorce. Every time he writes, he completely loses himself in his work, even to the point of becoming his main character; The King of Adventurers. Due to his problematic private life, the tone of the story often shifts. Eventually, he decides the best course of action (for himself and the story) is to just let his wife go.

Dr. Wei in the Scriptures with No Words is a goofy movie; and not in a particularly appealing way. The constant back and forth between Jet Li’s private life and his adventure story is often jarring; as are the serious tonal shifts that reflect the character’s mood. This probably seemed like a good idea on paper, but the execution is uneven. Consider the scene where Jet’s wife is injured in an elevator accident and he rushes to get her to the hospital. Of course, he doesn’t know how to drive and runs his car into several parked cars in the parking garage. The goofy tone is acceptable in the fictional world. However, it feels really out of place in the “real world” scenes.

Some of the action is pretty cool though. The opening involving a giant mechanical golden ox crushing people is memorable, and some of the fight scenes are well-choreographed. And there is a fight involving “fire swords” in the finale, although the effects are a little chintzy. But overall, none of it really clicks. (Plus, it didn’t help that the copy I saw had half the subtitles cropped out of view at the bottom of the screen.)

AKA: Adventure King: The Scriptures with No Words. AKA: Dr. Wei.