ENTER THE FAT DRAGON

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Enter the Fat Dragon Cover Alright. I know that the name of this film doesn't sound very politically correct, and that it may upset a number of overweight mythological creatures. But still, at the end of the day it's one cracking movie Directed by and Starring: Sammo Hung, with Yuen Biao; Billy Chan, and Lee Hoi San. It was made in 1978, and lasts for 100-minutes.


Enter the Fat Dragon


THE STORY:
When the pig farmer called Fatty (Sammo Hung) was sent to the big bad city by his shabby looking father, it was with the intent of helping out his Uncle Hung (Feng Feng) with his shabby looking restaurant business.

And he does. To some extent Fatty does just that. Waiting on table's during the day, whilst spending the rest of his time practicing Kung Fu, just like his idol, Bruce Lee.

However, after he has a run in with a gang of unscrupulous customers, Fatty suddenly finds himself working in another restaurant that's owned by the gang-boss, Chiu (Roy Chiao), who has a lot of dodgy shenanigans going on at the moment.

Yeah. I'm not stirring your noodles the wrong way, pal. You name it. Chiu does it. He gets two of his henchmen to recruit Fatty's cousin to forge paintings for him. He orders the aforementioned gang to beat people up for no good reason at all. Plus he sells black-market goods to some nutty professor from out of town that has a thing for antiquities.  

Oh! Wait up. This professor has a thing for one of Fatty's pretty lady friend too. But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires causes a right stir when a party turns from a formality to a right smash. As a pig farmer proves his bacon - a lady eventually gets taken - a fake Bruce Lee takes a nose dive - plus please remember, three against one comes' out like no man alive.




THE REVIEW:
Now I've got to be honest with you, dear reader, I was really looking forward to watching 'Enter the Fat Dragon'. "Great" I thought to myself. "I'll get to watch Sammo Hung doing his Bruce Lee shtick, as well as a great martial arts extravaganza at the same time".

But I was wrong you know. In part I was very-very wrong. What I got instead was a rather hodgepodge narrative that felt like a mix-match of Benny Hill meets 'Way of The Dragon', care of seventies Hong Kong cinema.

Enter the Fat Dragon Cartoon Film Poster
Here. Let me tell you what I mean by this. (1) Sammo Hung does a really good job at imitating Bruce Lee. Yeah. I'm not kidding. He does all of those things you'd attribute to good old Bruce. Like the grimaces. The thumbing of the nose. The contorted facial expressions. Everything. In fact, if Sammo wasn't such a chubby chap, on occasion I'd suspect he was somehow challenging my favorite martial arts legend. (2) I'm afraid to say that the plot to this piece is all over the place cinematically. It starts off with Sammo going to the city like Bruce did in 'Way of the Dragon'. Then suddenly, about twenty minutes in, it diverts into something else altogether. Honestly. At times I wasn't quite sure what the hell was going on! One minute it was something to do with his cousin mixing with two gang-members. And the next minute it was how a jovial mob-boss wanted to kidnap one of Sammo's pretty lady friends. Nah! Not my cup of tea at all. Too sporadic. And too unfocused.  (3) Like the majority of Hong Kong productions made during this era, the dubbing in this flick was bloody diabolical . Everyone sounded like either James Stewart or Minnie Mouse. Plus the ludicrous electronic sound effects distracted the fight scenes and any form of heightened plot point. (4) Despite what I've just mentioned, I've got to admit, the fight scenes in themselves were really great to watch. Personally speaking, I felt Sammo excelled himself in this department, and choreographed some smashing set pieces that paid homage to Bruce in a very comical way. (5) One of the most inadvertent surprises with this film was how I got to see what Hong Kong looked like during this time. Now you know how most of these types of films were either set in the countryside or in a studio, right? Well, in this case, it hardly was. And I caught a glimpse of the city, the town, and the public transportation system. (6) What the hell was that scene with the fake Bruce Lee all about? Hey! I know that it was meant to be a message of sorts. Emphasizing that there will only be one Bruce Lee. Yet, for the life of me, it felt very wedged in. And only gave this picture another jovial moment in a sea of jovial moments. (7) Oh! While I'm on the subject of joviality, I best mention that the humor in this production was very hit or miss for my own tastes. Some scenes made me laugh. Other scenes made me scratch my head in bewilderment. And other scenes made me wonder what's-what within the scheme of things. (8) I did love the final fight between Sammo and his three opponents. It was brash, bold, comical, and left this film on a very nice and positive end note.


Enter the Fat Dragon Sammo Hung Battle Movie Poster Enter the Fat Dragon Movie Poster Fight


Enter the Fat Dragon Starring Sammo Hung
Hey! I tell you what. While I'm in a bullet-point mood, let's have some bullet-point facts, shall we? (1) 'H.K. Fong Ming Motion Picture Company' first released this production on the very same day that the American baseball player, Ryan Ludwick, was born -- the 13th of July, 1978. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'The Little Thick with the Super Battle' in the Netherlands; 'Operation Dragon Gordo' in Argentina; and 'Debeluhove Adventures' in Slovakia. (3) When Bruce Lee died, the Hong Kong Cinema community considered the main star of this movie, Sammo Hung, to be his immediate successor. He didn't see it that way though, and tried his best to pay homage to Bruce's good name by choreographing the action scenes in the 1978 version of 'Game of Death'. (4) The aforementioned production company which developed this film -- 'H.K. Fong Ming Motion Picture' -- were in existence from 1972 to 1988, and made thirteen films in total. (5) At the end of the movie you will notice a Chinese person masquerading as a black man. Now the main reason for this was because the filmmakers wanted to comment on the way American productions have always cast white actors in oriental roles. (6) Although Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao attended one Drama Academy, whilst Mars and Lam Ching-ying attended another, together, all four of these actors starred in this action-comedy, as well as the Bruce Lee classic, 'Enter the Dragon'. (7) The actor who played the Party Host's son was in actual fact Sammo's co-star in the 1985 comedy, 'My Lucky Stars', Eric Tsang. Furthermore, the actor who played the street thug, Lee Hoi San, was Sammo's main opponent in the 1979 action-fest, 'Magnificent Butcher'. (8) This flick has been referenced in an episode of 'Robot Chicken: S&M Present', entitled, 'Enter the Fat One', plus a 2007 Spanish short called 'Gordo Master vs. Twin Snakes'.


Bruce Lee and Sammo Hung in Enter The Dragon Enter the Fat Dragon Starring Sammo Hung Print Ad


Overall 'Enter the Fat Dragon' was a fairly OK film to watch. The action was great. The comedy was hit or miss. Plus the story was sketch like in nature, and came across like a bowl of noodles without any noodles.

I.e. Very wet. Nuff said.

THE RATING: B-