Literally: Dragon All Over the Country
Director: Ronnie Yu Yan-Tai
Producer: Dickson Poon Dik-Sun
Writer: Clifton Ko Chi-Sum, Raymond Fung
Cast: Brandon Lee, Michael Wong Man-Tak, Michael Chan Wai-Man, Regina Kent, Bolo Yeung, Ng Man-Tat, Mang Hoi, Tanya George, Louis Roth, Stuart Smith
Running Time: 86 min.
You know you’re in for trouble when even the opening theme song is half-assed; it sounds like someone turning on a cheap Casio keyboard and goofing off with a few keys. Probably the most depressing movie I’ve ever seen, Legacy of Rage plods on through its 90 minutes, giving us an 8-year view of the terrible life lead by Brandon Lee’s character, who is named, oddly enough “Brandon.” He’s set up by his best friend ? who also continuously hits on Brandon’s fiancé ? he’s sent to prison, his fiancé moves to Brazil with an older guy, and, even in prison, Brandon has to put up with daily assaults by a gang of gwailo. Luckily, Brandon meets Four-Eyes, who happens to be a gun runner, and upon release from prison, Brandon works a few odd jobs before going all out in his vengeance.
Like A Better Tomorrow Part 2, Legacy of Rage is only notable for its dynamite ending. Bey Logan has it listed in his “Hong Kong Action Cinema” as one of the top heroic bloodshed battles, and it deserves to be listed there. Brandon and Four-Eyes blast apart countless goons in a 15-20 minute orgy of violence. I wouldn’t say that the scene is as good as ABT 2, but it does pack a big wallop, especially after the preceding hour of trite melodrama.
Supposedly Brandon Lee wasn’t very interested in martial arts when he made this movie, in 1986, so that might explain why there are only a few seconds of kung-fu in the film. Even his fight with Bolo Yeung is over before it starts, to quote Bey Logan. But even considering that Brandon didn’t want to do martial arts at the time, that still doesn’t explain why he would agree to such a depressing, dark movie. At least his sister got it right, by debuting in the pure actioner Enter the Eagles.
As it is, I’d just recommend skipping through the movie to the final fight. You don’t need to know the characters, or, worse yet, their plights. Just enjoy the shenanigans and gun fire, and like those guys on SCTV, you can chuckle and say “that blew up real good” when you see things exploding.
On a final note, I first saw this movie around ten years ago in its English-dubbed version. Brandon was dubbed in English throughout by another actor, except for the scenes in prison, where he talks to the gwailo bullies. There Brandon spoke in his own voice, saying short statements like “How do you wanna play?” and “No more.” I believe those scenes were recorded in sync-sound; at least, they sounded like they were. On the HK dvd Cantonese dub, Brandon’s voice is dubbed the whole time, even when he speaks English; the actor doing his voice for the English lines can barely speak the language. I wonder why they didn’t use Brandon’s voice. It isn’t a big deal, though, as the HK dvd’s picture blows away the quality of my old, English dubbed video, which was fullscreen and had Dutch subtitles. Those damn Dutch.
Joe909’s Rating: 4/10