Dragon Lord (1982)

Synopsis:  Jackie is Dragon, the ne’er do well son of a wealthy businessman. Along with his best friend Cowboy (Mars), he is constantly in and out of trouble. One day while out hunting, they stumble into the midst of a band of smugglers who are hot on the trail of one of their members, who has decided that selling Chinese artifacts to foreigners is bad business, and wants to shut them down. Dragon and Cowboy eventually come to the aid of the reformed smuggler and help him put a stop to the theft of Chinese cultural treasures. 

Debbie's Review:  Dragon Lord marked Jackie’s second directorial effort for Golden Harvest. Not only did he begin shooting without a script, but he managed to land in the Guinness Book of World Records for most takes of a single scene (2,900!) for a scene in which all the village boys must scramble to the top of a giant bun pyramid to retrieve a golden rugby ball, so they can beat the hell out of each other fighting over it (is that how the English do it?). After the huge success of Young Master, Jackie was eager to try something new: sports! After the bun-pyramid/rugby game, we are treated to a game that looks like a cross between hacky-sack and shuttlecocks. It’s intriguing at first, and shows amazing skill on the part of Jackie and the rest of the players, but in my opinion goes on much, much too long! 

But apart from the sports, which some enthusiasts may enjoy, this is a delightful story of friendship and loyalty, with some really fine butt-kicking thrown in for good measure. The subplot, which has Dragon and Cowboy chasing after the same girl, and then fighting over her, is a warm story of youthful friendship and puppy-love. Their antics are what make this film a joy to watch. But don’t worry, there are some top-notch action scenes as well, particularly a fight in a temple between Jackie and a couple of the smugglers: Jackie is so full of attitude and swagger that he is great fun to watch. But the payoff is the last fight. It’s a frantic free-for all that nearly killed Jackie when he accidentally fell from a second story balcony to the hard-packed floor below. In another stunt, when Jackie tumbles from the balcony, Mars breaks the fall with his own body…showing an admirable amount of loyalty, both on screen and in reality. 

Dragon Lord started out under the title “Young Master in Love” and was intended to be a sequel to Young Master. But without a script, the story quickly lost any continuity with the first film, and was changed into Dragon Lord. Unfortunately, this film ended up being an expensive flop, but it taught Jackie a couple of things: 1). start with a script, and 2). audiences wanted Kung Fu, not sports. 

Score: 6/10

Reader Reviews:

Alan's Review: It's very good film. Believe me!!! Must have/see

Score: 9/10

Brendan's Review: The comedy and acting can get a little weird, but there is great stuntplay, and fights, particularly the finale. The shuttlecock scene is awesome as well- I don't know why people always knock this part of the movie. Pretty good.


Mike's Review: I loved the story. I loved the comedy. I loved the sports scenes, and the stunts. The thing that bothered me is Jackie's character Dragon not using his Kung Fu that he knew. His father made him practice it all the time, and he could peerform it well. I loved the scene when he was half-assed practicing, but I wanted him to use his Kung fu, but his character didn't know how to apply it. His friend asked him why he didn't use it, and he said real fighting is different, that's just practice. 
I did love the final fight scene, it was funny, I just wanted him to discover how to apply his Kung- Fu. I was a little disappointed, but when I watched it again I liked it better, because I knew what to expect, and I just watched it for the comedy and story.

Score: 6/10

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