Legend of the Dragon (2005) / Action-Comedy
aka Long wei fu zi
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG-13 for violence
Running time: 95 min.
Cast: Xiaoming Huang, Timmy Hung, Sammo Hung, Priscilla Koo, Ellis Tang, Carl Ng, Jin Liang, Jewel Lee, Richard Ng
Director: Johnny Lee
Screenplay:Lee Gwing-Gai, Lee Man Choi, To Kai-Wah
Review published May 11, 2007
A young Hong Kong man named Ki Fung (Huang) travels with his friend (Timmy Hung, son of Sammo) to the mountains of mainland China in order to reconnect with his father, Dragon Ki (Sammo Hung, Astonishing), who has left to study the ways of spirituality and kung fu. Once there,Ki Fung begins to learn of a new way of life outside of the city, but finds that he can also stand to learn a thing or two from his father and the other villagers about Tai-Chi as a means of self defense, especially when a karate master (Carl Ng, In the Nick of Love) decides he is going to make his moves on the girlfriend he left behind.
Legend of the Dragon is a fluffy, featherbrained kung fu comedy that suffers greatly on every major level. As an action film, it's far from exciting. As a comedy, it never even encroaches on passably funny. As a romance, it's without a heartfelt moment. In fact, on all three counts, it ranks among among the lowest of its kind, with little to show for one's time spent except to be 95 minutes older, and a whole lot less happy, especially if money was exchanged for the rental.
With a name like Legend of the Dragon, you'd probably expect a good martial arts flick, perhaps along the lines of an old-school throwback, but such is not the case. The only word I would keep of the title would be the final one, except I'd make it two words, as this movie does little but "drag on" (and on and on). With the exception of several slapstick training sequences and a couple of rather lackluster fights near the end of the film, most of the plot is spent idling, with very little story development or depth in characterizations to keep our interest. It probably takes all of ten minutes of film to set up the parameters for the main showdown at the finale, which means that the rest of the story is padded to excess with quaint romantic flirtations, goofy performances, and a great deal of redundant, melodramatic wrangling over feelings from days gone past that surely must not have meant much to all parties considering how easily the participants were to give it all up.
Legend of the Dragon is probably only of interest to Sammo Hung completists, but just barely. As the great actress Bette Davis once said, "The only way to become a legend is in your coffin." Considering that this stinker is dead on arrival, its title is most befitting.
©2007 Vince Leo