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龍拳 (1979)
Dragon Fist

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 12/29/2011
Summary: Rare treat

The videotape used to broadcast this fu flick on independent TV channel TVS has clearly been around for a long time. Many scenes were effectively blacked-out of very dark. The tape stalled, flicked out, snowed. In short, the experience of unearthing a rare oldie at the video shop where the tape had been thrashed and patiently trying to trawl through it was faithfully reproduced.

The other reviews pretty much nail it. Jackie plays what was to become his signature role, the righteous little guy redressing a wrong done, though here he is forced to switch sides and it is unclear just who are the bad guys, and this leads to unusual nuances.

And it isn’t just Jackie. There is a formidable array of fu talent here, and Jackie’s choregraphy makes very effective use of them. What ever became of Pearl Lin ? This spunky little high kicker made less than a dozen movies, and she acquits herself well in the terrific all-in brawl which is the climactic set-piece. The only disappointment is that the equally spunky Nora Miao stands on the sidelines and plays only the helpless sister.

I’m now on the lookout for this one on DVD where, I hope, I can watch this great fu soapie and see all the action clearly.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 09/24/2008
Summary: Surprisingly good

DRAGON FIST starts in an extremely dubious way and promises to be another revenge flick from Lo Wei studios and yet another Jackie Chan film before he found success. Yawn. The opening scene, in which a cartoon villain challenges the upstanding leader of Jackie’s clan to a dual bodes ill, as does the FIST-OF-FURY-esque way the winner destroys the plaque of the honourable (are you getting the message yet?) Tang San Clan after killing the kindly Sam Tai. I wanted to scythe my own leg off at the prospect of such tedium.

But, you know what? DRAGON FIST is actually a very unusual kung fu flick. In fact, I’ll say it’s quite unique in that it is a revenge film, but completely unlike any I’ve seen before. And I’ve seen a few - oh yes, I’ve seen a few...

After the yawn-inducing opening, it turns out the head of the Champion’s Clan and thoroughly bad guy (Yen Shi-Kwan), has an ulterior motive for knocking off Sam Tai – he once had an affair with his wife. Afterwards, the wife, wracked with remorse because her former lover’s dead by her husband’s spinning kicks, hangs herself. So what does the evil bad guy do? Seek further revenge? Laugh evilly and then stroke his beard before wiping the Tang San Clan off the face of the earth? Surprisingly, no. He is so regretful of the whole incident that he goes into retreat and chops his leg off in penitence. And this isn’t the I’m-feigning-remorse-to-lull-you-into-a-false-sense-of-security-then-hack-you-to-bits kind of remorse, this is the real deal. He even changes the name of his school to the Patience Clan.

So when Jackie shows up at the Patience Clan’s school to take revenge at the death of his master, taking along Sam Tai’s mother and daughter (Nora Miao), he gets the wind completely knocked out of his sails when he finds out the man responsible is a cripple and desperately seeking atonement for his crimes. All is not as it seems elsewhere though, when another Clan, the Ngais, start to headhunt Jackie for odd jobs and this clashes with the Patience Clan’s new life of non-aggression.

DRAGON FIST is a film I’m very familiar with but I’ve seen it with open eyes this time around. While I was expecting the worst (I’ve never been what you would call a “fan” of the film) this was a very pleasant surprise. I also don’t remember the fight scenes being quite as exciting as they are. Jackie again directs the action in this and it’s clear that he was really getting the hang of the job at this point in his career. He really lets rip here and every action scene featuring him are well choreographed, which can’t be said for many of his Lo Wei films.

The only real fly in the ointment (apart from the ultra-lame opening) is the film’s need to explain everything, Scooby Do-style, right near the end – it kills the atmosphere and brings everything to a very embarrassing halt for a while. To make up for it though, Jackie kicks serious arse in the finale, and that’s more important than clumsy exposition scenes in a 70s Kung Fu flick.

I know this is said by at least one person about every Chan/Lo Wei collaboration, but DRAGON FIST really IS one of the better Lo Wei films. Honest.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Masterofoneinchpunch
Date: 05/16/2005
Summary: Decent Early Grim Jackie Flick

After production of Spiritual Kung Fu and subsequent shelving of that product, Lo Wei directed Jackie Chan in a somber revenge film named Dragon Fist. Distributors were also not interested in this film so
it was shelved not to see the light of release until after the success of Snake in the Eagle's Shadow. It is an uneven yet interesting work that is devoid of the humor that is so prevalent in most of Jackie's
movies, but has an interesting plot.

Jackie's plays Tang How-Yuen (a Bruce Lee influenced character that did not fit well to Jackie's personality); an orphan that was adopted by Chang San-Thye leader of the Kang Kun school. He watched his master get killed by Chung Chien-Kuen (master of the Patience Clan played by Yam Sai-kwoon) who coveted a sign Chang won at a previous tournament. Chung actually had an ulterior motive his wife was the lover of Chang years before they were married. Because of this unholy revenge, Chung's wife hung herself so the gods would forgive Chung.

On the eve of the third anniversary of his Master's death, Tang along with Su Ming (Nora Miao) and his Master's wife go in search of revenge of Chang's death. Meanwhile, there was several murders at a logging facility when the Patience Clan happened upon a smuggling facility of the Wei Clan. A member of the Patience Clan survived and pointed the finger at Fat Su who was currently employed for the Wei Clan. This pushes their leader, Wei Chang-Lung, to devise a plan to destroy the Patience Clan who are well respected in that region.

Tang is welcomed to the Patience Clan, though watched under the eyes of Chung's daughter Chu Peng and right-hand man (James Tien who in an earlier scene unconvincingly beats Nan Sing, played by great kicker Eagle Han Yin.) He is told to come back in three days, on the eve of a special date for Chung. When How-Yuen comes back he shown a golden sign that was made to replace the one Chung destroyed and he showed him his leg-in-a-box. Tang's mother then prevents him from exacting revenge since Chung already has made his penance. Tang is ready to leave when he finds out that his mother has been poisoned and the Wei Clan have the antidote. This sets an uneasy alliance between Tang and the Wei Clan.

I feel here is where the plot breaks down a bit after the nice turn of events. The James Tien character is a copy (semi-spoiler alert) of many of his previous characters (ala Half a Loaf of Kung Fu) and Jackie
is not having fun with his grim character. Where this film does shine is the good score by Frankie Chan, the beautiful scenery and the excellent fight choreography by Jackie. This especially works when he is involved showing his acrobatic movements and more realistic fight movements. Though it does not work as well when the non-martial art actors are involved. But the ending is full of inventive fights including Jackie using a staff (again) and getting pummeled by a sharp-tonfa wielding opponent.

Dragon Fist is an above average Kung Fu flick that would be of interest to anyone who wants to watch the non-comedic roles that dominated Jackie's early career. However, those who are only familiar with his latter roles might be disappointed. Overall, I enjoyed this film, but if you have only seen a few Jackie Chan films there are plenty others to watch before viewing this one.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: SteelwireMantis
Date: 07/10/2003
Summary: Quite enjoyable

In my opinion, this film is slightly above average. It had good kung fu, an okayish plot and Chan did fit the role quite well.

Chan plays a disgraced student who is hell-bent on gaining revenge for the murder of his master by the head of the Patience Clan. As he comes face-to-face with his nemesis - he realises that he isn't worth killing (as he already has suffered a great amount).

The down points of this movie were the predictable twists (James Tien is actually a bad guy in disguise... AGAIN) and the terrible camreawork of Lo Wei.

Better than Spiritual Kung Fu - Its worth the money.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: Nothing new, but okay

Average martial arts story, yet another Jackie Chan under Lo Wei production. But slightly better than most of Jackies.

Rating( out of 5): 3

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Chan seeks revenge for the needless dead of his master at the hands of another fighter. His dead master's wife is poisoned by a rival clan and he is forced to work for them against the clan of the fighter who killed his master. Eventually he discovers who the real baddies are and then extracts his own style of revenge. A standard tale which features the usual amount of kung fu.


[Reviewed by Dave Warner]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Plot: revenge for death of master. 'Nuff said?


[Reviewed by Elliot's Guide to Films on Video]