OF THE DRAGON (2005-HK)
review by Neo
Support the Site by Buying from YesAsia
movie spoiled by an unforgivable middle section...
Sammo Hung was once a legend and a figurehead of HK cinema, he was the famous fat guy who can move like Bruce Lee, well at least he was by far the best Bruce Lee's clone as shown in Enter the Fat Dragon. Nonetheless, while Jackie Chan have gone on to be a sometime Hollywood Superstar and a sometime US Boxoffice dud, Sammo went on to make a US TV - Martial Law and since then he has appeared in more B-movies and supporting roles than actual directing. So after so many years and years away from a starring role - Sammo Hung is back, not with himself, or William Hung, but his son Timmy Hung. Yes, and I must admit, that I have not really seen Timmy do any martial arts, but then again, I have only seen him in last year's funny comedy - Osaka Restaurant and that TVB series about Charles Angels rip-off. Sure, he is tall and skinner than his father, but he just isn't as funny nor share the same charisma as Sammo. By now, you probably realise I am not talking about this movie, but rather Sammo's life, which is probably a hint to you all, that this is not and by no means a proud addition to Sammo's extensive filmography.
The movie goes like this: Although he is blessed with martial arts skills given to him by his father, Lok-Tin chooses to use his ability to be a courier. One day, while in the middle of a delivery, he gets a call from his old girlfriend Ting-Ting asking him to meet with her. Unbeknownst to Lok-Tin, Ting-Ting is planning to use him as a shield against rich playboy Cheng Fu-Keung. This starts a feud between Lok-Tin and Cheng during which copius amounts of martials arts -- from kung fu to karate to tai-chi -- is displayed.
First of this movie is once again about - family, and with less than 20 HK releases in 2005, 4 alone deals with the issue of family, whether is a good or bad thing, it just shows that people are once again stressing the importance of family and the ideal of family are meant to stay together no matter what happen. For those who have seen Unleashed, will see a strikingly familiar thought in your head that I ripped the above line from it. However, the downside of this movie is really, the unrealistic nature of Sammo chasing after his wife and this scene which is meant to be emotional turns out more like an artificial effect of delay and almost boring the audience to take a nap. It is this very scene and along with a few others in the middle section of the film that drowns this movie to the shit hole of crap and if not for the somewhat redeeming romance between Timmy and this country kung fu girl which is just plain sweet and funny to enjoy watching and also the fight between Sammo and Lau Kar Yan. This fight is a highlight of the film and probably the only real memorable moment of the film as the two old school martial artist go head to head. While not very well shot, the fight is still a good one and probably the only reason for Sammo's fans to get excited about. However the rest of the film apart from these two redeeming factors the film is not totally unwatchable, but just drags.
As forced as I am, and having watched so many and enjoyed so many of Sammo's past classics, I must honestly claim that, Sammo is plain boring as a serious actor as he is in the movie. His talent not only lies in his ability to kick ass, but his comical timing. With this lacking in this movie, it just doesn't seem like a Sammo Hung movie, but rather yet another movie with a boring fat old father. Sorry no offence intended, unless Hung really impresses me in his next movie, which is most likely Sha Po Ling also starring rising star Wu Jing, the impressive Donnie Yen and the young looking yet 50 years old - Simon Yam, which promises to be one of the movie to watch of 2005. This movie in my honest point of view, is not total crap, however, as sad as it is to say, it is not really that far from crap. Perhaps, what disappoints me more, is to see how a successful 80s superstar can degrade to making these kind of low-budget movies, but then again, maybe Sammo is really past his prime... which I hope one day he will prove me wrong... asap!
I rate it 5/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Director: Johnny Lee King-Kai
Cast: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Timmy Hung Tin-Ming, Richard Ng Yiu-Hon, Carl Ng Ka-Lung, Ellis Tang Siu-Yan, Leung Kar-Yan, Priscilla Koo Kei-Kwan
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), June 2005