21 Mar 2013

DRAGON LORD

By David Lee Andrews   Posted at  07:30   MOVIES

Dragon Lord Cover Have you ever wondered why the Americans have re-titled the very English sport of football into 'soccer'? Could it possibly because they don't know the difference between their hands and their feet? Or better yet, something to do with this kung fu flick Directed by and Starring: Jackie Chan; with Mars and Hwang In-Shik? It was made in 1982; and lasted for a whole 86-minutes.


Dragon Lord


THE STORY:
Now it's pretty safe to say that Dragon Ho (Jackie Chan) is a very fine soccer player. He's nimble on his feet. He's works well with his team. And by in large he knows exactly what he is doing whenever he has a ball in his hands.

Yet, in the same breath, this big-nosed buffoon isn't as good at playing his life, as he is at playing kick-about.

Honestly. Sometimes Dragon is way off the mark with his antics: Like when he fights with his best-friend -- Cowboy Chin (Mars) -- over a girl they both fancy. Whilst at other times his shenanigans don't seem to go anywhere at all: Like when he upsets his father (Tien Feng), by not doing his poetry homework. And then there are those occasions where Dragon hasn't got a clue what he is doing: Like when he and his pals attempt to woo a bunch of pretty dames who don't want to have anything to do with them.

Still. It could be a lot worse I suppose. Dragon and Cowboy could inadvertently stumble upon the renegade turn-coat -- called Tiger (Wai-Man Chan) -- while he's attempting to infiltrate a smuggling-ring helmed by the elusive boss with no name (Hwang In-Shik).

Twice.

Yes. That's correct, dear reader. I said 'twice'. Firstly -- whilst they're chasing a chicken in a corn-field. And secondly -- whilst they're trying to retrieve a kite stuck on top of the bad-guys roof.

But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires kicks off when a Dragon's got to do what a Dragon's got to do. As renegades need protecting - kidnapped fathers need directing - an elusive boss spells doom and gloom - and at the end of the day this adventure ends in one almighty... BOOOM!




THE REVIEW:
Now if I had to sum-up 'Dragon Lord' with one single word, the word I would choose would have to be 'naive'. Yeah. No messing about. It's as though as this film was written for a day-time children's program or something. With a meandering plot-line floating about in the breeze like a kite wafting in the wind. Moreover, I wasn't very keen on the one-dimensional tone of the characters either. I felt that Jackie, Mars, and company, acted like jovial juvenile delinquents for the majority of the time. With each of them playing it slightly over the top on occasion, without adding any meat to their collective bones.

Granted, I know that this movie was meant to be 'played for laughs'.However, the comedy on show wasn't very funny; and doesn't compare to something like 'Drunken Master' in the silly stakes one little bit.


Jackie and Mars in Dragon Lord


Please note though: I'm only referring to the story on its' own merit. The action on the other hand is just great. Super great. And I did get a kick out of all of the high-flying soccer antic -- even if it didn't directly integrate with the story in itself. Plus I did like how Hwang In-Shik's face was kept hidden too. Shrouded by an object here, and a reflection there; keeping him under wraps until the 'final fight' at the end of the film

Also, another thing that I have to mention; is the actor called 'Mars'. Well, it was very nice to see him in his prime; falling about with Jackie in that slap-stick way of theirs. Honestly, throughout certain scenes in this adventure, I couldn't help but wonder why Jackie doesn't work with Mars in front of the camera today.

It would be nice to see him again, huh?

Dragon Lord Film Poster
Still, never mind. I'm sure this will happen one day. Just like my inevitable filmic-facts. (1) 'Golden Harvest' released this action-adventure on the 21st of January, 1982, and  made back $17,936,344 Hong Kong dollars at the box-office. (2) The stuntman come actor -- 'Mars' -- was given this name, because as a child his friends thought he was 'wired incorrectly', due to his daredevil antics. (3) This was the first time Jackie Chan included a 'blooper's reel' at the end of one of his movies. He was inspired to do this after working on the all-star comedy-fest known as the 'Cannonball Run'. (4) For the work they did in this movie, Jackie Chan, Fung Hak-on, and Yuen Kuni, were all nominated in the 'Best Action Choreography' category, in the 1983 Hong Kong Film Awards. (5) According to legend, Hwang In-Shik was supposed to be the one of the martial arts practitioners Bruce Lee would have fought in his incomplete final film, 'Game of Death'. (6) If you thought you've seen Mars before, you're most probably correct with your presumption. Not only has he starred with Jackie Chan in many of his films. But he was also one of the guards crushed to death by Bolo in the Bruce Lee movie, 'Enter The Dragon'. (7) This film inspired actor / director -- Stephen Chow -- to make his sports inspired slice of kung fu silliness, 'Shaolin Soccer'. (8) If it wasn't bad enough that this film took a lot longer to make and went completely over budget, worst still, it took over 2900 takes to shoot the pyramid fight scene -- advertently bestowing it with the world's record for the highest number of takes for a single scene.


Scene from Dragon Lord


Ha! Did you take note of point nine in my trivia splurge, dear reader? Jackie's World Record. Trust him to make 'Dragon Lord' memorable one way or the other, huh? Though, it is a shame that it couldn't have been for something more pertinent. Like a good story for example. But hey -- as I said previously -- never mind -- it could be worse -- you could have been involved in this...




Bloopers. You've got to love 'em. Bless you Jackie. You're a star.

THE RATING: B-

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