Sakra (2023) Review



Sakra is a wuxia epic that fans of the book it’s based on will enjoy however, the rest of us may be mostly confused by the end and the fact it’s rather slow at times doesn’t help. There are some spectacular action scenes but they are let down by wirework and visual effects so this is for wuxia fans only.

Plot: Based on the classic wuxia novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by Louis Cha (known worldwide by his pen name Jin Yong), SAKRA stars Donnie Yen as Qiao Feng, the respected leader of a roving band of martial artists. After he is wrongfully accused of murder and subsequently exiled, Qiao Feng goes on the run in search of answers about his own mysterious origin story—and the unknown enemies working to destroy him from the shadows.

Review: Donnie Yen is back and he directs and stars in the wuxia tribute Sakra; a new film from Yen is usually cause for celebration so I was looking forward to this especially with him also helming the picture.

This is an adaptation of Louis Cha’s novel which I admit I have never read so I was watching this purely as a film rather than an adaptation; if you’re familiar with the story then I believe you will get more out of this than I did as I have read other reviews praising how faithful it is.

Sadly, I was rather disappointed with Sakra as the story never really grabbed me and even though it was only 2 hours and 10 minutes it felt longer; I was ready for it to be done at 90 minutes but it just kept going.

Sakra is like Lord of the Rings in that it doesn’t know when to end; just when I thought it was over there was an overlong mid-credits scene and I actually had no idea what was going on.

If you’re a fan of the wuxia genre or have read the books, then you’ll likely enjoy this movie more than I did as I’m simply not a big fan of wirework and comically sped up fight scenes. That is a prominent feature of this genre so I should have remembered that going in.

It looks gorgeous and Yen is at his charismatic best, but I found it all rather slow and plodding in between the fight scenes. Admittedly despite the wirework there is a kinetic energy to the action and one scene has Yen taking on an entire gang while drinking wine and it is easily the highlight of the entire film. There are also some heartfelt moments between Qiao Feng (Yen) and Ahzhu (Chen Yuqi) and the performances are faultless.

The music score was my favourite aspect of the film as it had some Morricone-esque moments which elevated not only the action but gave it a more epic feel.

Overall, I feel like if you’ve read the source material then you’ll get more out of Sakra then I did; there are plenty of fight scenes but they are all done with wirework and noticeably sped up which took me out of it. I also found it too long and by the end had no clue what was going on but I feel like that’s just my lack of intellect.