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Black Dragons (1942)
Interesting Idea - Poor Execution
This film is truly a sorry excuse for film making. The pacing is poor, the budget must have been depressingly low, and the acting is cut-rate (that is, except for Bela Lugosi). The audio at this point in time is also terrible, with so much extra noise in the background that it sounded to me as though a jet were taking off for the entirety of the movie. If these things bother you at all, don't watch this film.
If you can get past this, however, you will find that the idea behind the film is a very good one. A German plastic surgeon (Bela Lugosi) was hired by the Japanese to operate on several Japanese agents and turn them into the likenesses of upstanding American businessmen whom the Japanese have kidnapped and killed. After completing his work, he was betrayed by the Japanese and thrown into prison. He later escapes and travels to America to seek revenge on his patients through a series of highly-publicized murders.
It seemed as though Bela Lugosi was the only decent actor in the film, and, to be honest, the rest of the actors were completely forgettable and stodgy. The leading actress ended up being rather boring and stereotypical, while the police officer assigned to her case was the common, chauvinistic and always correct dominant male that is found in many films of this time period.
I also found that the camera work was completely uninspired, often taking the exact same angles of the exact same rooms time and time again. After a while, this tends to drag the film down, setting a very slow pace for the "action," which is more or less non-existent anyway.
To me, the idea is a fascinating one, and with a better writer, director, script, equipment, and actors it could become an excellent film. Sadly, these handicaps keep the film back for now, and I can't recommend it to anyone but the most open of movie lovers.