|Index||3 reviews in total|
Dragon Lee, a vital cog in the Bruceploitation machine, fights a LOT in one
of the goofiest, yet fun kung fu films ever made. This doesn't even pretend
to be dark or serious, but there are lots of fight scenes which does keep
You've got your revenge motif which isn't anything new, but later there's a twist and I yelled in confusion, "So the son wasn't Dragon Lee, but this other guy instead?" It threw me for a curve, but Godfrey Ho says to hell with the story! There's a farmer attacked by 3 unarmed guys and he can't manage to defend himself with a sword. Sad really. This movie starts off with comedy and midway just destroys the goofy meter gauge. As a first in kung fu history, there is a nifty magnetic sword which I really don't see as an advantage since you are trying to slice the guy! Also, Batman inspires a utility belt that glows bright red. Magnetic palm repellers give a nice PWANG sound effect that had me cracking up every time.
Let's not forget star Dragon Lee. He takes advantage of every chance to do Bruce Lee fight mannerisms, pumps his fists a lot, and spends a good amount of time begging for handouts. Cheryl Meng does a good job a fighting femme who can't get Dragon to notice her! Dragon shines throughout including losing his pants during battle and doing a running jump up a tree followed by a turnaround kick taking out 2 guys at once. So GOOFY!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The only other "Godfrey Ho" directed movie I've ever seen ("Ninja the
Protector") was a weird Frankenmovie consisting of two sets of
unrelated movie footage joined at the hip via a wildly inconsistent
post-production edit.So I was not especially optimistic when Ho's name
appeared in the credits. But Dragon's Showdown", while hardly an
example of good movie-making, was at least a "real" movie,which was a
The lead actor is billed as "Dragon Lee/Bruce Lei",which should tell you all you need to know about the movie's ambitions.Still, it's somewhat better than it deserves to be. The hero has some presence and a pretty impressive physique (unlike some of the other would-be "Bruce's" who seem to possess the muscle mass of 14 year old girls) and can pull off some pretty cool movies. If the movie had had an actual budget, and some actual writing and plotting and production values,it might have been something to see...not "Enter The Dragon" good, but at least "mid-period Jackie Chan" good.
But instead the director falls back on the standard kung-fu tropes, and the English translation and dubbing are so bad as to be unintentionally hilarious. For half of the scenes the voice actors seem to be reading their lines for the first time; the rest of the time their readings are so jam packed with inappropriate pauses and misplaced emphasis that it seems as if the voice actors had no real idea of what they are saying. And the plot is um, somewhat confusing in spots,since we are only shown one brother being emotionally scarred as a child in the opening scene (and the sister being taken away by the villains), but somehow a second brother appears in the mix without any setup or justification from the screenplay at all. He's actually the best thing in the first half of the movie, but the big "revelation" of his true identity is sloppy plotting of the worst kind.
However,in the movie's favor, I estimate that old school kung fu fisticuffs break out every 90 seconds or so. And the movie is so unabashed in its,um,"quotes" from Bruce Lee's best moments on film (the gratuitous use of nunchucks, the battle-cries, the facial mannerisms, the disguises, you name it, it's there), that you can't help enjoying it. Also, the hero loses his belt in the climactic fight scene and has to fight with one hand holding his pants up to protect his modesty. I admired that little bit as an admission that no one involved with this project took it very seriously. In fact the movie is actually reasonably funny when it intends to be along with the times where it's funny without meaning to be.
So if you are looking for a Bruce Lee exploitation film where Chinese guys kick each other in the face a lot, well, this one will do. I picked it up for one dollar in a bargain rack at my local Wal-Mart, and I felt as if I got my money's worth.
THE DRAGON'S INFERNAL SHOWDOWN is another earlier effort from prolific
director Godfrey Ho before he went crazy making ninja cut and paste
movies. This one's a Taiwanese/South Korean co-production featuring
Bruce Lee imitator Dragon Lee going up against a super-villain who was
responsible for the death of his parents. It's a rather undistinguished
and sloppy-looking film notable for only a few weird elements to enjoy.
Dragon Lee gives a sub-par performance that leaves something of a void in the centre of the movie, and the guy playing the chief villain is little better (read: wooden). There's some fun from a drunken master in a supporting role, and a handful of bizarre moments that fans are sure to enjoy: the Batman-style buzzer belt is a weird prop, and the bit where Lee oils himself down to fight is oddly homoerotic.
A femme fatale also makes an appearance, and there's a pretty cool nunchuck scene included too. But the fight choreography is very routine and just consists of guys grunting, kicking and punching, repeated endlessly. It's also one of those films where you often see that feet aren't connecting with flesh which ruins the believability somewhat.
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