Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 2nd, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1978, 1979, 1983
Director: Godfrey Ho
Cast: Dragon Lee, Bolo Yeung, Carter Wong
DVD Released: August 6th, 2002
Approximate Running Time: 353 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4.3 Pan & Scan
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Brentwood
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
Champ Against Champ: Lee Wong (Dragon Lee) and his father prepare to meet Sing a woman who has been promised to Lee through an arranged marriage. On their way to Sing and her father Lee and his father are ambushed by some thugs sent by an evil warlord Kai. Lee’s father has a list of rebels and Kai will do anything to get this list and expose those who plot to overthrow him. Lee is shot with a poisonous dart in the ambush and in order to save his life the doctor informs him that his leg will have to be amputated. Sing’s grandfather many years ago forged a metal leg when he lost his own leg in a battle. Lee now a broken man is given this metal leg and the 18 kicks training manual. Once Lee has mastered the art of using the metal leg he sets out to save his father and ride the land of Kai forever.
The first half of the film is slow moving and things don’t start to pick up until Lee comes across the metal leg. Dragon Lee is in fine form as he tries his best to emulate the real Bruce Lee through his movements and expressions. This is one of his better roles still the fight scenes overall are sloppily choreographed and at times absurd. Another thing that adds to the film is its use of classical music mixed with your typical porno soundtrack. Godfrey Ho has seen better days as a director and his direction in Champ Vs Champ lacks inspiration as he and the actors just go through the motions as they make another a typical Kung Fu movie.
Rage of The Dragon: When Lee’s parents are brutally murdered he seeks out those who killed them and exacts his revenge.
The plot in this one is non-existent as everything cliché and idea are thrown in for good measure. The best parts of this film are the end fight Dragon Lee and Carter Wong and the guy with a big wart on his nose adds a few moments of comic relief. Carter Wong plays a character whose only weakness is sunlight a weakness that will come back to haunt him later in the film. Once again Dragon Lee and Godfrey Ho team up for another Kung Fu extravaganza. The fight scenes in Rage of The Dragon are some of their best work together and what this film lacks in plot it more then makes up for it through its action sequences.
Dragon on Fire: John Liu and Phillip Ko play two fighters who have both mastered the “Strike Rock Fist,” technique taught by Shaolin monks. After defeating all challengers they two square off against each other in a duel to the death. Fast forward years later John Liu is now a government agent who acquires the help of two local dishwashers Dragon Lee and his buddy Tino Wong who just happens to know the Strike Rock Fist style and the three of them join forces to expose a smuggling operation that involves shipping China’s precious artifacts out of the country. Phillip Ko along with a wheelchair bound master played by Chan Lau are behind these devious scheme’s. It doesn’t take long before John Liu and Phillip Ko resume their feud from twenty years ago.
The fighting is mediocre and at times the story doesn’t make to much sense as it is all over the place. Godfrey Ho adds some camp to the film through his direction besides that he offers little else. The cast for the most part give energetic performances and some of the Kung Fu at times looks silly like when Chan Lau bites his opponents while using his “mad dog” style of kung fu. Bolo Yeung who appears in countless Kung Fu films makes an appearance in this film as he is made up in thick hair from head to toe as he mimic’s a gorilla. John Liu is the films real star as this is one of Dragon Lee’s earlier films and he has only a supporting role.
Golden Dragon Silver Snake: When Han is killed by some gangsters this leads to a revolt amongst the local business men who now refuse to pay the mob any more money. Dragon Lee gets a job as a cook at a restaurant that seems to have no customers. When the gangsters kidnap the owner and his niece Lee steps into action as he saves the girl and the uncle has already been killed by the gangsters. Dragon Lee rounds up some of his friends to kick ass when he finds out that the gangsters killed his brother Han.
Godfrey Ho is in the director’s chair for this strange Kung Fu films and as usual things don’t make that much sense. There are a few moments of humor that lift this film just above a mediocre Kung Fu film. The fights for the most part are average at best as Dragon Lee tries is hardest to capture the charisma of Bruce Lee only to fail miserably.
Brentwood’s Dragon Lee four movie set presents all the features in a full frame aspect ratio that crops information and compromises some of the action sequences. The quality of these transfers is about the level of VHS and the worst overall looking film in the set is Champ Vs Champ. Rage of The Dragon’s suffers from color bleeding and over saturation.
Only one audio option for these films English (Dubbed) Dolby Digital Stereo which for a budget title is pretty clean as the action and dialog are easy to follow. The only problem I had with the audio is on the movie Golden Dragon Silver Snake that has a voice announcing the reel changes every ten to fifteen minutes. It is brief this interruption, still it is really annoying.
This is another barebones DVD from Brentwood and the only extra they saw fit to include is a worthless History of Kung Fu which can be read in text form.
Dragon Lee is by far the funniest of the Bruce Lee Clones and in these films he kicks a lot of ass and does his best Bruce Lee impersonation. Despite the transfer’s limitations and the audio miscue on Golden Dragon Silver Snake this set is a lot of fun and can be found cheaply. I recommend this set if you just like Kung Fu or if you want to check out a few Bruceploitation films this is good place to start.