Heart of the Dragon (1985)
Reviewed by: Waiguoren99 on 2002-07-10
PG - 13 for violence and nudity. Martial Arts Drama.

For years, police officer Tom AKA Ta-ta (Jackie Chan) has given up his life's dream of sailing as a merchant seaman to care for Danny AKA Dodo (Sammo Hung), his severely retarded older brother. Now he gets a last chance to realize his dream, but Danny's fearful fury when he realizes that his brother is leaving him triggers Tom's resentment and anger and leads to an emotionally devastating conflict. Then Danny's accidental involvement with a criminal gang puts him in mortal danger, and Tom must make a choice -- his dream, or his brother's life.

Definitely not just for action fans, Heart Of Dragon is primarily a heart - tugging drama which includes thrilling martial arts choreography. (Please note: this film does have darker and more intense fighting than some of Chan's films.) Chan, in a role calling for more depth of character than in his usual films, plays the loving but resentful brother of a severely retarded man. Sammo Hung shows unusual courage in playing this role (very few action stars would dare to play a man with the mind of a 5 - year - old) and Hung pulls no punches in a realistic, completely believable performance. You can't help falling in love with both these men and becoming totally involved in their trials and triumphs. Well-done martial arts sequences and stunts by Hung, who also directed, are seamlessly integrated into the story, adding suspense and thrills to the mix. An older film, some of the acting is still in the more theatrical "opera" style and may seem a bit broad for those used to Western minimalist screen acting. Although the studio which cut and dubbed the version I saw of this film for the American audience has left it a bit choppy (or it would rate 4 out of 5 thumbs up), it is still a largely - unknown gem.

Reviewer Score: 8