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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Retro Review: Dragon Fight (1989) #Hongkongcinema

Dragon Fight aka The Defactor (Lung Joi tin aai)
Cast: Jet Li, Stephen Chow, Nina Li Chi, Dick Wei
Genre: Action
Hong Kong Box Office Gross: over $6 million

Plot: Stranded in San Francisco, a martial arts expert becomes a murder suspect

'This Fight Is A Blight'

Jet Li and Stephen Chow make for an odd pairing and in 1989's Dragon Fight aka The Defector, both actors have yet to have peaked: Li didn't reach new heights until the mid-1990s, whilst Chow eventually transitioned from dramatic acting to being a comedic star with movies such as Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer

When a martial arts champion in Tiger defects to the U.S, his teammate, Jimmy Lee played by Jet Li gets left behind. & no sooner does Tiger link up with a crime syndicate. Jimmy's friend is murdered with Jimmy on the run after being wrongly accused, only to be rescued by a deliveryman played by Stephen Chow.

The plot is generic, whilst the story is just too dull for words and not very enjoyable that I cared less about it. Sadly, yet again, & I hate to say this, but Jet Li has virtually no charisma. As great a martial artist he is, he just doesn't have the ''it'' factor or screen presence compared to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Whereas Bruce and Jackie have colourful personalities that transcend through their performances and martial arts, Li, on the other hand, comes across as being too static. His acting wasn't too bad in this one though, whilst Chow showed glimpses of his comedic style. Yet together, it feels a little mismatched, Chow's cursing was irritating than amusing (I lost count at the number of F-words mentioned) and I didn't really sense that buddy chemistry. 

The action wasn't too bad. The English dubbing though is bad and almost painful to listen to with terrible acting from the American actors and whilst die- hard Jet Li fans will enjoy this, others such as myself, will be left bored by the dreary story, which failed to engage me. 

Final Verdict

Despite some of the cool fights, I found this film to be unremarkable, I can see why this is rarely talked about when it comes to Jet Li movies. 


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