Director: John Woo
Producer: Raymond Chow
Writer: John Woo
Cast: Ji Han Jae, James Tien Chun, Carter Wong Ka Tat, Yeung Wai, Chan Chuen, Gam Kei Chu, Hsu Hsia, Yuen Wah, Chui Man Fooi, Yue Yin Ching, Kim Wang Kuk
Running Time: 107 min.
By Alvin George
Long before he was a master of “heroic bloodshed” gangster films, John Woo was just another young director struggling to make it in the Hong Kong film industry. The chop-socky thriller known as The Dragon Tamers was one of his first movies.
The version I saw has the expected bad English dubbing and the usual cheesy HK sound effects–not to mention an all-too-familiar martial-arts plot. However, the plot’s not the important thing. The action is very well done. Important to the movie’s plot is taekwondo, a Korean martial art. I guess the movie was also filmed on location in Korea because that’s where the hero goes.
A number of HK films of the ’70s were filmed in Korea anyhow (just read Jackie Chan’s autobiography, which is entitled I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action.) A stunt choreographer for this movie is (surprise!) Jackie Chan (well, at least it says so in Chan’s aforementioned autobiography.) James Tien’s character teaches taekwondo to female students who are often seen wearing tracksuits (um, were at least some of those tracksuits of the same kind as the one Jimmy Wang Yu wore in The Man from Hong Kong?). One of those students has a big crush on a Chinese guy (Carter Wong) who has come to Korea to study taekwondo. Of course, there are bad people who need to be dealt with.
Alvin George’s Rating: 8/10
People usually think of gangster movies when they hear or think the name John Woo. This may not be an Oscar winning one, but this is one of Carter Wong’s better acting jobs, as well as James Tien being the star of the show (a rare occasion. He was also the star of 1971’s The Chase, a pre-Big Boss sword movie).
The fights are not wire-enhanced, but feature traditional Tae Kwon Do (NOT that generic, watered-down Americanized olympic crap!) This is the real stuff. Bottom line: If you want to see a good and hard-as-hell to find kung fu movie that showcases fine Korean martial arts, check this one out.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Ji Han Jae and James Tien have a re-match (after the G.O.D. scenes). There is also a good fight with Ji Han Jae and Carter Wong.
Goldenfist’s Rating: 9/10