Review of Dragon Fist (1979)

4 Sep

Dragon Fist aka Long Quan (1979) is a Hong Kong martial arts/action/drama film.

Directed by Lo Wei (The Shadow Whip (1971), Slaughter in San Francisco (1974)).

Written by Wang Chung-Ping (Seven Promises (1979)).

Starring: Jackie Chan, Nora Miao, James Tien, Lin Yin-Ju, Chiang Kao, Yen Si-Kuan, Sha-fei Ouyang, Hsia Hsu and others.

I am not a huge fan of Jackie’s Lo Wei directed movies and I’m glad he succeeded in leaving his studio later on, which wasn’t that easy, it even resulted in such rubbish as Fearless Hyena 2, but I’ll get to that in some later review. However, this doesn’t mean that Jackie didn’t make any decent movies during this period. It’s a gamble, it might be bad like Magnificent Bodyguards or the previously mentioned Fearless Hyena 2, it might be good like…  and then there are movies like this, mediocre, which is arguably worse than bad, since you don’t feel passionately either way and soon forget them.

The movie opens with a fight between two men. One of them being Chan’s master wins. But then there’s another fight between the master and some evil master, who kicks Jackie’s master’s ass so hard, he soon dies. Jackie gets really pissed and vows revenge. Later on it is revealed that the bad master killed Jackie’s master because he had had an affair with his wife 18 (oddly specific) years ago. Somebody has been watching too many soap operas. And now his wife hangs herself out of guilt or sorrow. This shit just got dark.

Then some years pass and Jackie has gotten way better at his kung fu and now is ready to kick the one ass he couldn’t previously, the not-so-evil-master’s ass. Jackie comes to the guy, ready to exact his revenge, but the master asks for three more days. Jackie being the nice guy agrees and goes away. San Thye’s (the good/dead master) wife is poisoned so it opens up a new plotline with getting medication for her. Three days go by and [Spoilers!] the master has cut off his fucking leg and keeps it in a box. Surely Jackie won’t fight him now. [Spoilers end]

Jackie has to work for a drug gang to get the medicine for the widow. And overall, the plot of the movie is pretty interesting, not too predictable, has some twists. Compared to some other kung fu flicks, that seemed to have noodles to string together the fight scenes, here we get something more involving. The execution is a whole different thing, Lo Wei manages to make it kind of bland and forgettable.

The fight scenes are pretty good, but lack the inventiveness of later Chan’s work or other Chan’s work of the time for that matter, specifically with Yuen Woo-Ping.

Overall, a quite decent Chan flick, but not exactly what you would expect from him, it’s not that fun or funny, it’s just ok. It won’t make you a Jackie Chan fan, but if you’re already one, than, sure, check it out. Recommended.

“Hey, back away, you won’t touch these women!”
“Oh really? Says who?”
“Says I!”
“Who are you?”
“They call me Dragon Fist, because I dragon-fist assholes of assholes like you so hard that it’ll feel like you’re shitting lava after.”
“Geez, man, you… you really didn’t have to take it this far. Ok, we’re leaving, you sociopath.”

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