When a troupe of showgirls with their impresario and press agent vacation at a Malibu Beach resort, two of them are garroted. Charlie takes on the case assisted by Number Two Son Jimmy and faithful chauffeur Birmingham Brown.
Victor Sen Yung
Sometimes I dread watching some of the later Monogram Chan's, but this one was a pleasure to watch. It's a friendly Chan that's easy to digest. The story is not convoluted with so many twists and turns that you need to take notes to follow the story. This one's pretty basic. Atom bomb secrets are stolen in Checkoslovakia and end up in Mexico City. A secret govt. agent who is watching the thief gets murdered in a mysterious way - one gun shot is heard, but two bullets are found. There are a group of suspects for the murder, and they're all looking for the secret papers. It's Charlie's job to find the papers first, and then find the murderer.
I like the clue the govt. agent leaves on the typewriter as he is dying. It's fun trying to figure out what the message means. If you can do it the first time you watch this flick, you are smarter than me. The way the people are murdered is pretty ingenious, which adds to the mystery. Also, I liked the fact that Chattanooga and #3 son had limited roles in this flick. The focus of these movies should be Charlie and the mystery he is trying to solve, but too many times the mood is destroyed in the name of comedy relief. Thankfully, Red Dragon doesn't have much of that. Another nice aspect was the amount of sets and locations. It helped give the movie a nice flow - it never got bogged down or boring. Sometimes these cheap Monogram's seem claustrophobic, slow, and boring, but this one bounced all around the city.
I read that the original running time for this movie was 64 minutes, but the one I watched last night was a hair under 59 minutes. This was a hard one to track down. It didn't seem like the missing 5 minutes hurt the story. Hopefully, it was just fluff, like Chattanooga and #3 son playing around. If you are a Chan fan and can find this one, it's well worth watching.
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