Wai (Jet Li) is a writer with marital problems that are protruding into his work, giving him writer’s block. His book must be completed though so, with the help of his workmates, he sets about trying to finish his current story. This latest adventure sees Dr. Wai, the king of adventurers, on a quest to recover the “Scriptures with no words”. Flipping between reality and the adventure, we follow Dr. Wai and his assistant Pao (Takeshi Kaneshiro again) in their journey to find a sacred box that is required to locate the scripture. The box is said to give the finder three wishes so when it almost falls into the hands of the Japanese it is up to Wai and co. to get it back.
This blatantly ‘Indiana Jones’ influenced adventure is laid out in such a confusing manner than it is practically impossible to follow, let alone summarise to another human being. Essentially though, it’s made up of two very badly written tales that jump between reality and a fictional world, making it not only baffling to the viewer but a complete chore to sit though. It’s also fairly obvious that no real time has been put into character development and we barely understand the motives or reasoning behind Dr. Wai’s work. Jet Li is of course his usual likeable self and the other actors are all adequate, but it’s hard to complement any specific performance when the film itself is so poorly handled.
The action is about only thing that makes ‘Dr. Wai’ worth watching, with Li on typically fine form for a couple of battles with some interesting opponents. However, even these flashes of excellence aren’t quite enough to warrant a recommendation and I’d still have to give ‘Dr. Wai’ a general thumbs down. Apparently there is an international version which removed the author’s story, but somehow I doubt even that would be enough to make it watchable. If you must see it, just fast forward directly to the fight scenes.