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p (1983)
Dragon Claws

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 05/20/2021
Summary: Kicking that has to be seen...

The third and final film that superstars Dragon Lee and Hwang Jang-Lee appear in is a hidden gem that deserves watching by anyone who is a fan of the Korean kick masters. Damor temple is home to a group of students that are learning Wu Fat Kung Fu. They are opposed by a local group led by Kam Fu (Hwang Jang Lee) who is hell bent on destroying the school and its participants. Kam Fu and his brother (Baek Hwang-Ki) are especially interested in obtaining the four secret books that show the Wu Fat style. After one of the Damor students decides to murder a prominent monk and steal the books in order to sell them, he is caught and along with Monk Kwok, are subjected to a grueling self-punishment in order to atone for his crime. Kwok decides to entrust the books to the remaining four students in hopes that they will study and open schools themselves in the future. Wong Lung (Dragon Lee) decides to keep all four books to himself, afraid that distributing them would lead to them being lost or exploited. Although they object, the other three students are murdered by Kam Fu, rendering Wong’s decision moot. After he is nursed back to health by a hermit, Wong, along with the mysterious recluse, decide to avenge their comrades and take on Kam Fu and his school of thugs.

Dragon Claws, also known as 5 Pattern Dragon Claws, is a top notch kung fu film that falls into the same category as the criminally underrated Korean kickfest Incredible Shaolin Thunderkick. If you want to see the best Korean kickers in action, look no further. Dragon Lee is as great as ever, and the avoidance of trying to mimic Bruce Lee is a huge bonus. Hwang Jang Lee is at the top of his game as well, but there is rarely a time when he isn’t. The real pleasure comes from the supporting actors, who are leg masters in their own right, but have unfortunately not been given their due praise. The actor who plays Monk Kwok is especially good but has yet to be identified. The choreography by Baek Hwang-Ki is also stellar, with the finale being some of the best 15 minutes of brutal action I’ve seen in a long time. There are no punches pulled or kicks held back as the participants tear each other apart. The plot is minimal but the action is plentiful, do yourself a favor and seek this film out for a true Tae Kwon Do bonanza.


Reviewer Score: 9