DRAGON LORD

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Dragon Lord Cover Do you know what? I have a sneaking suspicion the American public re-named the English sport of football into 'soccer', because some of them don't know the difference between their hands or their feet. Then again, how would I know, eh? I quite enjoyed watching the following 86 minute movie made in 1982. It was Directed by and Starred: Jackie Chan; accompanied by Mars and Hwang In-Shik.


Dragon Lord


THE STORY:
I'm sure you will agree with me when I say the two of us have been pretty good pals over the years, Cowboy Chin (Mars). Not only have we played soccer together, but we've also chased the girls together too.

Granted, there was that one occasion where I had to give you a jolly good kicking because we chased the same dame. You know. That doe-eyed bit of skirt with the petite... coff-coff-coff... features. Whilst at other times you actually helped me out when my father (Tien Feng) told me off for not doing my poetry homework.

So, what I'm trying to say here, Cowboy, is WHY THE F*CK didn't you try to stop me from bumping into that renegade turn-coat called Tiger (Wai-Man Chan), whilst he was attempting to infiltrate a drug smuggling-ring spearheaded by that elusive boss with no name (Hwang In-Shik)?

TWICE!

First when we were chasing that chicken in the corn-field. And second when we were trying to retrieve a kite stuck on top of a shed. But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires goes slightly ga-ga when you look over at me and say, 'Beat's me, Dragon Ho (Jackie Chan)?'. As renegades need protecting - a kidnapped father needs directing - an elusive boss spells doom and gloom - and at the end of the day, this adventure ends up in one almighty... BOOOM!




THE REVIEW:
Now in all actuality, movie mates, there are many different words I could use to describe, 'Dragon Lord'. 'Fun', would be one of them. Whereas 'Nice' would be another. Yet if I had to be completely honest with you, I'd say the best word I can think of would have to be 'Naive'.

Yeah. I'm afraid so. It's as though whoever wrote this adventure was writing it for a children's day-time television program. What with the way it's meandering narrative floated around all over the place with no real direction, which in turn made the majority of the characters either act like a bunch of juvenile delinquents or cardboard cut-out type villains.

Granted, I know it's conceptual premise was supposed to be 'played for laughs' -- so to speak. But having said that, though, from my point of view the comedy on offer wasn't very funny -- more amusing at best --  and doesn't compare to the likes of 'Drunken Master' in the 'silly stakes', either.

Now on the flip side of things I did enjoy watching most of the action scenes -- especially those high-flying soccer antics, even if they weren't integrated into the story-line in any way shape or form. What's more, while I'm in the mood for praising this picture, I did find it very intriguing how the character played by Hwang In-Shik was kept hidden throughout the majority of the plot. Shrouded by an object here -- or a reflection there -- keeping him under wraps until the final pay off took place during the climatic 'end reel battle'.

Also, something else I best mention about this flick was the noteworthy inclusion of the actor called 'Mars'. Well, it was nice to see him in his prime again, wasn't it, dear reader? In fact, I liked how he worked with Jackie so much -- falling, joking, and generally messing about -- I couldn't help but wonder why Jackie doesn't work with him in front of the camera today.


Jackie Chan and Mars in Dragon Lord


Dragon Lord Film Poster
Still. Never mind, eh? I'm sure this will happen sooner or later. Just like my inevitable filmic-facts. (1) 'Golden Harvest' first released this production in Hong Kong on the 21st of January, 1982, and eventually made back $17.9 million Hong Kong dollars at the box-office. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'The Two Cousins' in Italy; 'The Rabid Dragon Hero' in Germany; and in America it was given the alternate name, 'Dragon Strike'. (3) The majority of this movie was shot on location throughout the Chinese city of Hong Kong, as well as the Taiwanese city of Taipei. (4) 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 so after working on the all-star American comedy-fest known as, 'Cannonball Run'. (4) For the work they did on 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) Not only has Mars starred with Jackie Chan in many of his other films, but he also was one of the guards crushed to death by Bolo Yuen in the Bruce Lee classic, 'Enter The Dragon'. (7) This adventure inspired the actor-director, Stephen Chow, to make his sports inspired slice of kung fu silliness, 'Shaolin Soccer'. (8) If it wasn't bad enough 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, directly bestowing it with the world's record for the highest number of takes for a single scene.



Scene from Dragon Lord


Now did you take note of point nine in my trivia splurge, dear reader? Jackie's World Record. Ha! Trust him to make 'Dragon Lord' memorable one way or the other! Although 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-