Dragon Fist (1978)

Synopsis: One of Jackieís early pre-stardom films, this has the typical avenge-the-death-of-my-master plot so dear to early Hong Kong films. Jackie is a student in a martial arts school, and has vowed to seek revenge against the Master of the Patience Clan, who killed his master. Thereís a bit of a twist here, though: when Jackie, traveling with his dead Masterís wife and daughter, who have been like a family to him, finally confronts the Patience Clan Master, he has cut off his own leg in remorse. How can you take revenge on a one-legged man? Bitterly disappointed, Jackie and his foster mother and sister decide to return home, but before they can leave, the mother is stricken with a mysterious illness which can only be cured with the secret family recipe of a gang of thieves and bullies known as the Wei clan.  Jackie is then blackmailed by the Wei clan, who happen to be enemies of the Patience Clan, into doing their dirty work in exchange for the medicine to save his mother.

Debbie's Review: This is one of my favorite films that Jackie made under the direction of Lo Wei. I like the story, because the relationship between Jackie and his foster-family is kind of touching, and Jackie does a fine job portraying a man torn between his duty to the people he loves and feels honor-bound to protect, and his duty to do whatís morally right. The fighting in this one isnít spectacular, but itís good, and the battle at the end gets pretty exciting, particularly when Jackie and his former enemy finally join forces, and Jackie uses the old Masterís crutch as a weapon.

The overall tone of the movie is quite serious, but it has lovely music, and an atmosphere that I just find appealing, probably because it reminds me very much of an American Western from the 50s.  It has the silent, stoic hero (Jackie) who is sort of the equivalent of the hired gun, and the final battle feels almost like the shoot out at the end of a Western. Worth checking out, I think.

Score: 5/10

Reader Reviews

Philip, The 13 year old Chan fan's Review: Dragon Fist was a really disappointing film. The story isn't that good and the few fights it has are absolutely rubbish. It's only redeeming feature is that the final fight is actually rather good. Other than that this film is rather crap.

Score: 4/10

Joe's Review: Didn't like this one either, it was blah, Bruce Lee rip off. ok ending, if you can make it that far.

Score: 2/10

Jin Ke's Review: This was my first old-school Jackie Chan movie, and it wasn't what I was expecting.  It was very serious, very bloody, and it didn't have the energy I'd seen in "Armor Of God" or "Twin Dragons."  Still it wasn't bad, with a decent amount of kung-fu action.  However, it was one of those "Jackie just wins the fights 'cause he's the hero" type of films.  He didn't really get to showcase his talents, although the final fight scene where he takes on a guy with spiked ton-fa sticks is well done.  He also gives a pretty good acting performance, if a little stiff.

Score: 5/10

The Drunken Master's Review: Well, I agree with "Joe" on this one - a Bruce Lee rip-off. This is one of Jackie's worst films, with not a funny moment in it! Jackie is serious all the way. Hey, at least he tried. Do not buy this except for a neat looking cover.

Score: 1/10

Adam JC fan's Review: This movie was not that good. A few good fights.

Score: 4.5/10

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