Murders in Seoul, Korea and in America pair two cops from each of the countries together to solve the crimes. The investigation leads to a gang war between the Mafia and the Yakuza, but one... See full summary »
Murders in Seoul, Korea and in America pair two cops from each of the countries together to solve the crimes. The investigation leads to a gang war between the Mafia and the Yakuza, but one that may not be of either of their making. A shadowy assassin is killing the leaders and an Italian assassin may have his own agenda. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
American Dragons is an archetypal 'Buddy' police action film where the main character (Tony Luca Michael Biehn) is caught in the middle of a gang war between the Mafia and the Yakuza whilst being lumbered with a Korean Detective (Joong-Hoon Park). Despite a totally unoriginal plot, American Dragons is a very good film and definitely has the edge over the average 'Buddy' films that were so popular in the 90s.
What really sets this apart from other police films is the chemistry between the two main characters. Their bickering throughout the film adds amusement and highlights how cultural differences can have an effect on people's relationships. Luca's apparent racism at the start is not a sign of evil, but of misunderstanding and ignorance. The pair's inevitable journey to becoming friends is done very well and does admirably to avoid becoming cliché. Rather than one character saving the other character's life, it is the stories they tell of their path to becoming a cop and what guided them being where they are that leads them to discovering they have more in common than they first imagined. This, of course, is only after they have a raging fight in a back alley which is broken up by a homeless man threatening to call the police!
For a direct to video film, the overall quality of the film is very good. The stage lighting is consistent throughout and it is always clear what is occurring on screen. The adrenaline pumping music is one of the best aspects of the film and does a great job of putting the audience on the edge of their seats, especially during action sequences. The fight scenes in the film are also very good; there are a couple good martial arts fights and some great fighting by Biehn.
This is by no mean Michael Biehn's most challenging role, but he certainly rises to the occasion and does very well in the more emotionally demanding scenes, showing guilt and remorse very effectively in the scenes involving the murdered civilian. It is good to see an actor have such fun with a role as Biehn does in this film. He certainly enjoys playing the tough, cynical cop who punches his way to the truth. Whilst the chemistry between Biehn and Park was good, Joong-Hoon Park does appear to have some struggles coping with his English in this film which occasionally affects the delivery of his lines. Other than that, he performs competently in the film displaying great shock at American's lack of respect for policemen and is great in the banter between Luca and his character (Kim). The rest of the cast is a bit of a disappointment. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is almost wasted in this role, an actor of his calibre should definitely have been given more screen time. The only other actor worthy of a mention is Don Stark who is terrific as the clichéd mobster, Rocco.
What really lets this film down is the script. To be honest, it is abysmal and the script writer should really be ashamed of himself for forcing people to emit such rubbish. With a story that was lacking anything new, a good script was required for the film to gain any real credibility and it is for this reason that film never got a theatrical release.
While definitely not a masterpiece and not as good as Lethal Weapon, American Dragons is a thoroughly entertaining piece which grips the audience really tight and even adds some occasional touching moments.
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