HEART OF THE DRAGON

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Heart of Dragon Cover Quite a few years ago a mate of mine had an operation and ended-up with a heart of a color-blind monkey. I don't know why though. All he said to the dentist who was going to carry out this procedure, is if he saw the following 91 minute movie made in 1985. It was Directed by: Fruit Chan; and Starred: Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, James Tien, with Emily Chu.


Heart of Dragon


THE STORY:
Me and you have been boyfriend and girlfriend for quite some now, Jenny (Emily Chu). I love you and I'm pretty sure you love me. And even though my job as a Hong Kong cop does steer me all over the shop, as push comes to shove we'll always, always, always, be as snug as a bug in a rug.

However, a couple of days ago I was sent a letter in the mail which may put a dampner on things, princess. You see, I've just been accepted into the Naval Police Force, and my new job involves me being away at sea for quite some time. Plus to make my life even more strained, I can't seem to find anyone willing to look after my older brother while I'm gone.

Well, as you know, love-kitten, Danny (Sammo Hung) can be a bit of a hand-full on occasion, can't he? Especially since he's... you know.. special. Very special. Worst still, no matter who I ask to take care of him, time and again I keep on getting exactly the same answer thrown back into my face.

No. No. No.

So I was thinking, my angel delight, if you could maybe.. well... see your way to... kind of... errr... look after him for me? If you do, I promise that the evil crime lord -- Mister Kim (James Tien) -- or one of his henchmen -- Kenny (Tai Bo) -- won't try to kidnap you despite my absence!

But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires all breaks a promise when Jenny looks over at me and says, 'You listen here, Ted (Jackie Chan)! Stop being a wuss and look after your own God damn brother!'. As a bunch of criminals have a jolly good fight – a bunch of police-men finally unite – a hidden box of valuables isn't hidden in spite – and at the end of the day, two long lost brothers eventually re-unite.




THE REVIEW:
To be completely honest with you, folks, when I first sat down and watched ‘Heart of the Dragon’, I wasn't expecting to see a film that was a strange mixture of ‘Sesame Street’, ‘Police Academy 2’, plus ‘Rain Man’, accompanied with the usual dose of Jackie Chan's high-flying hi-jinks. Well, it only stands to reason, doesn't it? With a tough name like that I was ready to watch a really tough film. But what I got instead was a fairly nice film with some rather sloppy direction to it.

Heart of Dragon DVD Cover Starring Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan
You see, from my point view I'd say this was an adventure of two equal halves. Narratively the first half dealt with Jackie's work-related dilemma in which he had to choose between a new job overseas, or caring for his ‘simple brother’ back home. Where as the second half of the film was a moderately muddled gangster type scenario.

Tonally this picture was equally divided as well. With the first half awash with a bright and dramatic tension, whilst the second half was a very contrasting and brutal action affair.

Now please don't get me wrong, dear reader. I'm not trying to imply that I didn't enjoy following this movie. In fact, Jackie and Sammo -- plus some of the supporting players -- did put on one hell of a great show. The drama on offer touched a nerve deep inside me, and on occasion it made me actually shed a watery tear. The montage sequences also aided the premise in both narrative and in scope, and I think this helped both the story construction as well as the pacing of the plot. Plus the message that's at the heart of this movie is a rather poignant one indeed -- one pertaining to looking after your own siblings no matter what the circumstances are.


Heart of Dragon Starring Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan


On the flip side of things, though, the dubbing was abysmal, the style -- both visually and musically -- was all over the place, and there wasn't enough real fighting in this flick either. Also, as much as I hate to say this, some of the jovial ‘Sammo sequences' didn't really work within this confines of this bi-polar movie. Particularly those scenes set in the restaurant and at the school, plus I'm sure it would have helped if 'Sammy's condition' was defined in real medical terms. 

Heart of Dragon HK Film Poster Starring Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan
But hey. You can't win them all, can you? All you can really hope for is the following filmic-facts. Ha! (1) 'Golden Harvest' first released this production in Japan on the exact same day Susan Akin's was crowned the 59th Miss America. It was on the 14th of September, 1985. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Dragon's Task' in Finland; 'Protection To Be A Mirror' in Spain; and 'Powerman 3' in West Germany. (3) The majority of this movie was shot on location throughout the Chinese city of Hong Kong. (4) Since it's inception this flick has been notably referenced in two American based melodramas. In 1988 it was mentioned in the Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman classic, 'Rain Man', where as in 1993 it was talked about in the Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio adventure, 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape'. (5) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, was, 'Warrior, Brother, Protector, Friend'. (6) At the 1986 Hong Kong Film Awards, this film won the 'Best Original Film Song' category, and was nominated for 'Best Action Choreography' for Sammo and Jackie, 'Best Director' for Sammo, 'Best Actor' for Jackie, and 'Best Original Film Score' for Lam Man-yee. (7) The Hong Kong version of this film included two action sequences which were omitted from the international print. Allegedly this was because Jackie and Sammo wanted this film to be thought of as a drama more than an action adventure. (8) After this flick touched itself in the shower, Sammo Hung starred in the drama, 'Yes, Madam'; Jackie Chan starred in the crime-thriller, 'Police Story'; and Emily Chu starred in the horror movie, 'Witch from Nepal'. 


Heart of Dragon Starring Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan


All in all I'd say 'Heart Of The Dragon' was a pretty good but pretty mixed-up film. Even though most of it was fairly decent to watch, there were times I wished it took some medication and just decided what it wanted to be. Don't you agree, 'end reel outtakes clip'?




Good film. Nuff said.

THE RATING: B+