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Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung,
Stanley Sui-Fan Fung
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Jackie Chan stars as a hot-shot lawyer hired by a Hong Kong chemical plant to dispose of opposition to their polluting ways. But when he falls for a beautiful woman out to stop the plant, Jackie is torn in a conflict of interest and asks his trusty friends Samo and Biao to help out at least until they discover the true purpose of the plant. Written by
The consistent and exciting action sequences cover the weakness in the narrative
Jackie Lung is a hotshot lawyer working for those that can afford him. He is used to less than savoury cases so he thinks nothing when he is hired by a criminal-run factory that has been challenged by a local fish-farm that is being badly polluted. Jackie hires his two associates (themselves less than savoury characters) to spy on the owners of the fish-farm and find out whatever they can about it. However, when Jackie falls for one of the women in question he finds himself with a conflict of interest and decides instead to look into the factory.
I've been using my DVD subscription service to dip into older films of late and a couple of good experiences made me seek out more older Jackie Chan films to see him in his prime. This film caught my eye as it had Chan, Sammo and Yuen together, not to mention several other recognisable names and faces in Urquidez and Yuen. I had recently seen some of Chan's films where the action was mostly left to one big sequence at the very end and the rest of the film was focused on more comedic sequences. This film is similar in the "light entertainment" mould but it succeeds by having regular and consistent action throughout. These are mostly very good and each of the three stars gets a chance to show off their abilities on the way to a final fight between Chan and Urquidez that is as skilled and exciting as those names would suggest.
What this leaves though is the plot which is as simple as the genre requires but not actually that engaging. A lot of it rests on the romantic part of the film to work and this doesn't really do much other than happen. It didn't really interest me or provide anything beyond the odd chuckle that justified the time given to it. I suppose in the context of the film it is a necessary evil simply because the romantic interest between the characters is what drives the plot and puts people where they need to be for the action to occur. It still doesn't work that well though but never to the point where it hurts the total film all it does is produce weaker bits that are a bit hard to care about.
The cast are mostly excellent in terms of delivering what we came here for (action) but also the main people are solid in the comedy stakes as well. Chan is charming and quite amusing while Sammo is his usual clowning sort of character. Yuen is a bit drier but still it is his agility that makes him watchable. I enjoyed the amusing villain from Wah Yuen and the fight-work from Urquidez just about makes up for the terrible make-up they have stuck him in. The women in the cast have a thankless job of mostly being important within the romantic threads of the film they are cute enough but not much in the way of performances thanks to the material I think.
Dragons Forever will draw viewers because of the three main actors and what they can do physically. With this as the motivator the film wins by having consistent and engaging fight sequences that are impressive and fun. The downside is that the plot used to frame these sequences is pretty weak at times even if ti does produce some funny moments here and there. Martial arts fans will enjoy it no doubt.
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