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Heart of the Dragon (1985)

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-Jackie Chan
-Sammo Hung


Jackie Chan plays a cop, who has to take care of his retarded brother. He cares a lot for his brother, but also has dreams of going out and getting a job as a sailor. He is torn between the two, as he can leave his brother in the hands of neighbors while he tries his hand at the new job, but feels guilty that his brother is not in his care. Still a cop, though, Jackie is after a gang of thieves. Eventually, his brother, while playing with friends, accidentally gets his hands on the loot and now the gang wants him.


When you first start watching this movie, you will notice that this is not your typical Chan movie. In fact, for a large part of it, it is a drama. Somewhere in the middle, it switches gears, quite abruptly, and turns into your standard Jackie 80s fight fest. This is, unfortunately, the killing point of the film. The film is torn apart by smashing two different styles and stories that shouldn't be put together.

As I first watched the film, I actually thought after quite a while that it was gonna just stick to being a drama. Why shouldn't it have? It did a pretty good job. As I always say, while Jackie is a great comedian and martial artist, he is also a great actor though he is seldom credited in that aspect. Here he shows it in his struggle in trying to deal with his child-like brother while wishing to chase his dreams. One scene, where he finally snaps in front of his brother and eventually starts crying, has to be seen. But, when a terrible contrivance in the plot set up that last part of the film, I could do nothing more than cringe. After spending all the time setting up a drama, they piss it away with a fairly standard cop/action segment derived from a horrible plot twist. As solid as the earlier part of the film was, this just about kills everything and it is this taste that is left in the viewer's mouth.

The action we do get to see in the last segment of the film is standard Jackie stuff. I wouldn't put it up there with Dragons Forever, but it is some okay stuff as you'd expect from a Jackie movie directed by Sammo. At times, the speed up got distracting, which was a complaint, though. It certainly isn't as dazzling as many other Jackie action sequences, but it is not bad. The action is mostly limited to the last part of the film, so don't expect a big fight fest when you watch this movie.

I might have given this film a better score based on the first part, but I cannot get over the plot contrivance and the way that the two parts of the film just do not meld. It really leaves a terrible feeling in the viewer, and it kills the film. Maybe give this film a try to see the dramatic side of Jackie and Sammo, but be prepared for what is ahead in the film.


-Sammo Hung


-English dubbed.