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Dragons Forever 4K UHD Review

“Dragons Forever” will appeal to Jackie Chan enthusiasts. 

Directed by the legendary Sammo Hung and Corey Yuen, 1988’s “Dragons Forever” is a Golden Harvest Hong Kong action-comedy that revolves around a womanizing lawyer (Jackie) who takes on a case involving a fishery filing an injunction against a chemical company. Jackie recruits the help of an arms dealer friend (Wong) and a criminal (Tung) to gather intel and try to get the fishery owner (Miss Yip) to dissuade her from this injunction. Hijinks ensue when both Wong and Tung are unaware that they are on the same side and that both were hired by Jackie. Matters become increasingly more complicated when Wong ends up falling for Miss Yip while Jackie falls for Yip’s cousin Wen. As if that wasn’t enough, the chemical company ends up being run by a crime boss (Hua Hsien-Wu) who is using the seedy business as a front for something far more sinister. 

“Dragons Forever” is a bit of a strange film tonally. On one hand you have plenty of slapstick humor (as tends to be the case with Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan films) involving cartoony music cues and everything from Jackie trying to hide the overweight Wong in a closet and Wong using a blowhorn to woo Miss Yip. On the other hand the main characters are generally not good people. There’s misogyny galore, Jackie is a womanizer and a very shady lawyer, Wong is an arms dealer, Tung is a criminal and all of them are very dishonest people. It’s a weird choice to make the lead characters inherently unlikable. Yes, the characters do have depth and end up learning from their mistakes, but it’s a bit of a puzzling decision to make the alleged heroes rather despicable for most of the film. 

Plot wise, there’s not much going on here as there’s more of a focus on characters and character actions. Much of the story comes across as an ode to screwball comedy films complete with numerous misunderstandings, characters not communicating, and comical fights. The crime boss element gets a bit short changed which is a shame as that was the more compelling part of the story.

Given that this is a Jackie Chan vehicle, most people will be watching “Dragons Forever” for one reason- the action. Thankfully, the action delivers. The stunts and fast paced hand to hand combat in restaurants, a boat and a chemical plant are nothing short of entertaining.

Despite the questionable characters, there are some solid performances here from the all-star cast comprised of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and especially Yuen Wah as the cigar smoking crime boss Hua Hsien-Wu.

Note: This set contains 4K versions of 3 different cuts. The 94 minute Hong Kong cut, the 98 minute Japanese Cyclone Z cut and the 94 minute International cut.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? This 88 Films disc release contains a nice transfer that maintains the grain of the original print while providing a pleasant upgrade.

Audio Tracks: Cantonese Dolby Atmos, Remastered Cantonese Mono,2002 Remixed English 5.1 on the Hong Kong Cut, and English Mono Hybrid Dub. How do they sound? The Remastered Cantonese and English Mono tracks are very flat while the English 5.1 is the best of the English options. The best track (and the only one you should play) is the Cantonese Dolby Atmos which has the most depth.

Extras:
* Double-sided poster
* A thick 88 page booklet with photos, credits, promo materials, and essays by Matthew Edwards and C.J. Lines,
* 6 lobby cards
* Commentary by Frank Djeng and FJ DeSanto on the Japanese cut, commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema on the Hong Kong cut,
* 10 separate interviews with stuntman Chin Kar-Lok, writer Szeto Cheuk-Hon, actor Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Cinema Studies Professor David Desser, Hong Kong cinema expert and producer Mike Leeder, stunt coordinator (with multiple other titles) Jude Poyer, martial artist Brad Allen, actor/stunt performer Joe Eigo, martial artist Andy Cheng, and fighter Billy Chow.
* “The Legacy Of Dragons Forever”- Directors and stuntman talk about “Dragons Forever.”
* 13 minutes of silent Out-takes And Behind The Scenes.
* English and Cantonese music videos.
* Additional Cantonese Dialogue.
* English and Hong Kong trailers.

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December 24, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Jackie Chan’s movies from the 1980s were often entertaining.

    Comment by carlocarrasco | December 25, 2022 | Reply


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