Heart of the Dragon | aka The First Mission (1985) Review

"Heart of the Dragon" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Heart of the Dragon" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Director: Sammo Hung
Producer: Leonard Ho
Cast: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Emily Chu, Lam Ching Ying, Meng Hoi, Peter Chan, Yuen Wah, Chin Kar Lok, Melvin Wong, James Tien, Anthony Chan, Billy Chan, Chan Chuen, Billy Ching, Chow Kong, Chu Chi Ling, Chung Fat, Fung Hak On, Fung King Man, Huang Ha, Jeng Maang Ha
Running Time: 89 min.

By Vic Nguyen

This is the first film that I cried through. Jackie and Samo’s performance’s are astounding. Jackie plays a cop that dreams of sailing around the world, but the only thing that is stopping him is his mentally ill brother, played by Samo. While playing, Samo unintentionally mugs a person, making him drop the persons bag. Little does Samo know that the bag contains stolen jewels. Now Samo is wanted by the police and its up to Jackie to clear his name. I really liked this film, with great dramatic performances by Jackie and Samo. This film has little action, but the performances and the plot make up for that.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 10/10

By James H.

As you most likely already know, “Heart of the Dragon” is not your typical JC fare. It is, however, quite the touching film. Jackie plays a cop who gives up his dream of being a sailor to take care of his mentally challenged brother played by Samo Hung.

The film has a little bit of everything: drama, humour, romance and action. Notice how I put action last? Good, because this is not an action film. It is a drama. Generally, the acting is good, but it’s hard to gauge due to the sub-par dubbing. There are two scenes that prove that Jackie and Samo have the ability to act.

The action scenes were well down, but darker and more hash than those of, say, “Police Story”. It is very rare to see a JC movie where Jackie himself shoots a baddy at point blank range. I really enjoyed the film, especially the ending. It completely took me by surprise. The direction was top notch thanks to Samo. The ending montage was just marvellously put together.

James H’s Rating: 8.5/10

By Jordan

Call me soft, but this movie to me was very sad and depressing. It is the only movie that ever made me cry! There are some funny bits though involving Jackie’s retarded brother (a great performance by Samo Hung, but no action for him) and the fights were pretty impressive, but there weren’t enough of them. In “Jackie Chan: My Story” it shows two of the fights cut from the movie and I must say “Heart Of Dragon” would have been better had they been left in. It is a quality movie but most of it is far too dramatic for my liking.

Jordan’s Rating: 6/10

By Ro

A lot of people liked this movie and I don’t know why. The story line involves a CID detective (Jackie) and his mentally challenged brother (Samo Hung). He really wants to be a merchant marine, but is giving up his dream to take care of his sibling. It’s supposed to be funny, but most of the humor was at the expense of Samo, and I didn’t find it amusing. There’s only one fight, at the end, and it’s bloody. I found the whole movie dark and the end was incredibly depressing! I just couldn’t believe they ended it that way! Maybe it was more realistic, but who wants that much realism anyway? And I found the acting way over the top. I don’t know if it was the direction, the script or the acting, but if you want to see a movie with the same basic plot, see the powerful Dominick and Eugene instead.

Ro’s Rating: 4/10

By The Great Hendu

DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE EXPECTING ACTION! Watch this movie because you want to see a serious drama with a twist of humor and a touch of action. Sammo plays the mentally challenged brother of Jackie. It makes for a few comical scenes and a good drama between Jackie and Sammo. If any movie could be called a tear jerker, this is it. Sammo does a tremendous job in his part. I believed the role he played. And Jackie does equally well as the sympathetic brother. I think it was well written and concieved. I might actually enjoy seeing a sequel sometime. So, was there any fighting? Yes. At the very end of the film, Jackie threw a few kicks and punches. They were good, but not spectacular. I think anything more would have detracted from the art of the film. It was a good blend of all aspects. Definately worth a look.

The Great Hendu’s Rating: 8/10

By Rintor

This was a very sad ‘drama’. When I sat down to watch this movie I was expecting another beat-’em-up-crazy-stunts-with-lots-of-laughs JC flick. However, I got a heart warming drama with the beat-’em-up-crazy-stunts- with-lots-of-laughs mixed together. The product of this was a very good movie. Both Jackie and Sammo played their roles very well. Although it was difficult for me to get the full effect of Sammo’s mental handicap at first with the bad English dubbing. Friends don’t let friend Dub. It doesn’t help the film a whole lot. The fighting was pretty good, and I was surprised to see Jackie put a machete half way through a guy’s neck. The wall flip was impressive too. Shaol!nDrunkMonk, the last time I fought Dick Wei and did a wall flip and killed twenty people was yesterday. I was asleep. So, where’s the toilet bowl full of chunky peanut butter?

Rintor’s Rating: 8.5/10 (9/10 without bad dubbing)


As if being one of the very best, if not THE best, Jackie Chan movies I have ever seen, this one has to top my list as being one of the very best films I’ve ever seen period. This movie is greatness beyond comprehension, action beyond belief, “the chunks of ‘hearty’ peanut in the chunky peanut butter that sticks to the roof of your mouth when you try to scrape it off” type of movie that is so great. Firstly, this one has better acting than I’ve seen in most American movies, and it is this top-notchness that almost brings you into the character and story development. Contrary to what the other reviews say, this is not just a drama movie with no action. While it is true that this is a very sad drama, this one has plenty of action. Jackie and Sammo pull of their roles the best I have ever seen them do, as a younger brother and retarded older brother, respectively. The story moves along very well. Next, the action.

While it is true that this doesn’t have as much action as in his other movies, Jackie is mesmerizing in the final sequence, when he takes out all his anger on the baddies for the years of torment people gave to his older retarded brother. It is kind of like the way he dishes out punishment in Police Story. He just walks in, loses it, and bashes heads in without any hesitation…sweet and to the point. In one scene, a character begins(Keyword-“BEGINS”) to point a gun at Chan’s head, and Jackie doesn’t even show any fear before jacking him up. Now, the last fight scene is cool incarnate. Other people say, “OH MY! This one absolutely is over-rated, MY GOODNESS!”, and other whiny things…well, when was the last time YOU fought Dick Wei and did a wall flip and kill twenty people (if anyone answers this I will make them eat chunky peanut butter from the toilet bowl…)? This fight is short, sweet and to the point…two incredibly guys meet, exchange about two sentences, them beat the sweet cucumber chips out of each other…This is one of the 4-5 movies I would ever give a ten out of ten to… so THERE!

S!DM’s Rating: 10/10

By Dan-O

Now don’t misunderstand me – I like this film. But does anyone else out there notice that the last fight sequence is rediciously sped up? No one I’ve shown this film to ever seems to catch onto this. Seriously, if you own this film, go back and watch the last 20 minutes. Its almost laughable. Jackie IS quick, as are his stunt monkeys, but this is stupid. It doesn’t even make the movie more exiting (which is what they were obviously goin’ for). Another gripe: a couple of the scenes felt scotch-taped on, like that goofy-ass chase scene and the equally goofy-ass military training scene from the beginning. It’s almost as if those scenes came from an altogether different movie. Yes, I know, at it’s heart this is a Jackie Chan film, so I simply dismiss such incongruities with a shrug and a smile and a twinkle in the eye. Other than that, this is a heartwarming, and at times, depressing film, and Sammo gives a superb performance as Jackie’s turnip of a brother. Go see it, buy it, rent it, whatever it takes. You’ve obviously got nothing better to do.

Dan-O’s Rating: 7/10 (would’ve gotten an 8 if not for Sammo’s butt-crack)

By Andrew

This was a fun film, but also needs to be filed away under “Sammo Hung” in the grand scheme of kung fu film history. Do we really have to see Hung’s @$$ while he’s in the bathtub? I’d rather forget that part. The action scenes in this one are pretty fast and furious. One thing that bugs me though is just how mean everyone is to Sammo’s character. I just can’t imagine a bunch of chefs beating the $#!+ out of a guy who can’t pay his bill (although they did the same to Jackie in the first Drunken Master) The best stunt in this flick was done by a supporting character who falls out of a restaurant and lands on the ground instead of the specially prepared car (same problem they had in Police Story). The car chase stuff was good too, but not quite like the ones in Armor of God and Operation Condor. Despite my references to other JC films this one was pretty unique and really not all that bad. See if you can spot the guy who played “Panther” in Supercop. Ok, I’ll stop now.

Andrew’s Rating: 6/10

By Aloho

The thought of Jackie playing a dramatic role propelled me not to buy this surprisely realistic flick. The reason I did buy it though is because I heard all this mumbo-jumbo about the spectacular finale. I got more than expected when viewing this. It keeps you alive through the whole movie because of the plot. Jackie did good playing his part. Sammo did a good job directing. This movie gets your emotions going. In some parts, I just wanted to kill those bastards teasing Sammo’s character. It’s kinda like I wanted to be in the movie and just change matters around and just unleash on the bad guys. Well, that is exactly what Chan did towards the end in a construction site. He does not wait for the enemy to throw a punch or anything, he just gets in there and kicks ass. Jackie knocks out a guy that put a gun to his (Jackie’s) head before that guy could yell out “freeze.”

When Jackie and Dick Wei meet, they don’t exchange looks or blab some corny catch phase, they just duel till death. Chan does a wall flip, those are cool. There is a semi-entertaining chase scene, but it never really picks up. In the beginning, there is a police training thing in a forest. That was just O.K. Some funny parts, like Sammo almost drowned himself in a bathtub claiming he was teaching a toy to swim underwater. Another scene, Jackie holds hands with Sammo giving the appearance they are gay. I got the Taiseng video; the dubbing was awful! Of course most dubbing is said to be bad, but face it, the mouth will never really move in sync with another language. What makes the dub so horrible and much worse than other dub jobs is that mouths move when there is no sound, vice versa. That’s like Godzilla quality. If you see it, buy a subtitled one over a dubbed one. Otherwise, just cope with it.

Aloho’s Rating: 7/10

By Clint

This DRAMA contains a good car/motorcycle chase scene and the spectacular finale. The only scene I found semi-amusing was when JC was holding hands with Samo walking down the street and he had to point out to everyone that they were brothers and not a gay couple. It does entertain you for the entire hour and a half, despite the lack of action or comedy, because you actually feel for the characters. I must say i got a little angry at that guy when he made Samo slither on the ground like a snake. All in all a decent film. You can get this one at Blockbuster too, under the name “Heart of Dragon.”

Clint’s Rating: 6/10

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