Thursday, 2 December 2010



Um, er, yes, well.... Not entirely sure what to make of this frankly bonkers Hong Kong fantasy action movie from 1977, which dedicates itself to the millions who loved the then-recently departed Bruce Lee and then proceeds to spew complete hogwash across the screen for the entire running time. I don't know what the point was, I don't know what they were smoking, but it's almost - almost - worth seeing for the industrial strength insanity and some nunchuka action that would have got it banned by the BBFC when it first came out.

In The Dragon Lives Again, Bruce Lee is dead, and arrives in the Underworld where there is a battle for supremacy going on. A group of villains including James Bond, The Exorcist, The Godfather, Clint Eastwood (in his Dollars trilogy persona), Emmannuelle and Dracula plan to take over the Underworld, and in order to achieve this they have to get rid of Bruce Lee before they can kill the King and instal The Godfather on the throne. The heroes are basically Bruce, a bloke who looks a bit like Indiana Jones but isn't (the movie predates Raiders Of The Lost Ark by at least four years), and - I'm not making this up - Popeye. Bruce Lee, meanwhile, just wants to get back to Earth. That's kind of the plot. There are numerous fight scenes, very badly staged; none of the cast look like who they're pretending to be (it's explained at the start that faces change en route to the Underworld, which is handy) and I first thought "The Godfather" was actually supposed to be Elvis.

In true trash exploitation movie tradition, there's a healthy dollop of entirely irrelevant female nudity thrown in for good measure. But it's completely incoherent, it has a stupid ending, much of the fight choreography is actually pretty uninspired (despite star Bruce Leong's long track record in the field of staging these sequences) and it goes on for too long. Matters aren't made any better by the bad English dub (the DVD has a Mandarin track but, crucially, no subtitles) and the incredibly shoddy crop job from widescreen to 4:3 which doesn't even attempt to pan and scan - it's just taken the middle of the image and frequently doesn't show who's talking or cuts people in half. Generally pretty poor and indifferently thrown together: it might be fun for connoisseurs of bad movies and Hong Kong weirdness but no-one else.


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