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Lt. Dan Oliver, an American soldier in Korea, agrees to deliver a jade dragon statuette to a curio shop in Los Angeles. Soon after his arrival, he is murdered. Phil Ramsey and Ginny O'Donnell trace the murder to the shop of Professor Kim Ho. Ramsey receives a package mailed to him by Oliver from Honolulu that contains the jade dragon, and takes it to the curio shop to force a showdown with Kim Ho. He is attacked by Ho's hoods and is about to be killed when Ginny arrives with Police Lt. McLaughton and the police. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MASK OF THE DRAGON was bundled with a George Raft film (MAN FROM CAIRO) on a DVD entitled "Forgotten Noir". Well, this really isn't an example of Noir, though it is a film best forgotten!!
This review is for the non-heavily edited version, though at 53 minutes this is still a very short B-film. Later, this film was cut way down so it would fit in a half hour time slot on television. Believe it or not, editing the film that severely wasn't that difficult, as there was a lot of padding to this rather thin story. Several songs by a cowboy trio and a comedy routine by Sid Melton were definitely oddly included in this film.
By the way, including Sid Melton is odd since he's such a little guy and seems ill-placed as a member of a vicious gang. Plus, he alternates between being a heavy and comic relief. You may remember his as "Alf Monroe" from GREEN ACRES--a long way from a crime drama!
As for the plot, a service man is returning home from the Korean War. A Korean merchant asks him to take a package with him and the dumbbell agrees--even though you would assume this is part of a smuggling operation. Not surprisingly, the guy is killed and the package disappears. So it's up to our dull hero to come to the rescue and figure out who was responsible and why.
This film has B-movie written all over it--with a super-low budget and a lineup of B-actors (such as Lyle Talbot--the unofficial King of the Bs). Melton basically plays his role like he's a vaudevillian doing stand-up. Compared to other Bs, this one is sub-par--because of clumsy writing, broadness of the acting and horrid music (it was all done on an organ--talk about "Über-cheesy").
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