A hotshot lawyer Chan is hired by a mysterious chemistry
factory to dig up dirt on an inconvenient fishery seeking
damaging court action. Sidekick Hung and professional crook
Yuen swiftly sprint to Chan's aid. Ironically, the gang finds
their toughness softening in the face of two gorgeous ladies
at the fishery. They inadvertently hit a center nerve of the
chemical factory when they unmask the hideous facade of a
I have to pick this title as my first choice of review for
the Fortune Star series, notably as this is the last collaboration
effort from the famous action trio of all time.
action trio am I referring to? It’s none other than
Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.
Sammo Hung directed movie marks the trio’s swansong
on the big screen before they venture into different phases
of their career. Jackie of course garnered the greatest success;
Sammo has its fair share of glamour with “Martial Law”.
The underrated Yuen on the other hand slipped under the radar
plot of “Dragons Forever” goes something like
this. Jackie plays a lawyer who is hired to defend a chemical
factory who is being sued by a fishery for polluting the seawater.
Sammo and Yuen are Jackie’s buddies who are tapped by
him to gather inside information. But the chemical factory
in fact is a smokescreen for a drug production facility.
be honest, most of the HK action films in the past have not
much of a story to rave about. In “Dragons Forever”,
it seems that someone just came up with a “let’s-fight-the-drug-lords-this-time-round”
theme and throw in a clumsy romantic subplot to fill up the
a pity Yuen and Sammo has little chance to show off their
skills here. Yuen’s character is a weirdo and social
outcast who pulled off some hilarious moments in the movie
while Sammo is sort of a sweet-tongue professional conman.
romance element has Jackie falling in love with the fishery
owner’s cousin Nancy (Beauty Queen Pauline Yeung) and
Sammo chasing after the fishery owner, Miss Yip (the great
Deannie Yip) in the cheesiest way ever imagined. There is
the usual slapstick humour, which the trio is famous for.
One particularly standout scene involves Jackie trying his
very best to have a romantic candlelight dinner with Candy
while trying simultaneously to end a dispute between Sammo
and Yuen under the same roof.
Harvest productions are known to have better production values
as compared to others. But surprisingly, this 1988 production
seems pretty much scaled-down. Most of the action sequences
took place indoor perhaps the rising salaries of the trio
might play a part. However, there’s one which took place
on a luxury yacht which have Jackie fighting a group of henchmen
(better than the one in the 1999 “Gorgeous” I
should say). Man falling down stairs, brutal kicks and smashing
glasses rule the day at sea.
are a couple of action sequences in “Dragon Forever”
to please the action buffs along the way. A brawl at a pub
has the reminiscent of the one in “Project A”
(but the latter plays out stronger) and the trio has a mild
slick fight session at a car park. But the ultimate showdown
has to go to the one at the drug facility.
someone decides to hastily throw out every single ounce of
romance element in the final act and devote the last 10 minutes
for some real kick-ass action!
Biao finally has the chance to show off his agility, fighting
against Thai kick-boxing champ Billy Chow. The fast acrobatic
leaps remains incredibly fascinating on screen after so many
years. Watch out for the scene where he flipped through a
broken glass panel. Instead of pure wire-fu works (which I
detest enormously), these guys go for real. As the script
requires Sammo to be out-of-action, he has little to show
off here (we know he’s busy behind the cameras). Of
course the main fight has to go to Jackie and Benny Urquidez,
(a real martial-arts champ who fight Jackie in “Wheels
on Meals” if you recall).
fight is brutal to say the least. Seeing Jackie trading punches
in his no-hold-barred style and you realize why he is still
the top player in the action genre in Asian or Worldwide.
Wah, another veteran of action movies and from the same opera
troupe as the rest plays the twitching, cigar-chomping villain.
He has little to do here as he has a whole lot of supporting
players such as the above-mentioned Billy Chow, Benny, and
Philip Ko to do the hard work.
Forever” didn’t do as well as expected in the
HK box-office back in 1988. To be fair, it indeed has lots
of weaknesses (a few already highlightened in this review)
however it remains one of those last few action gems which
came out of that era. And hopefully the trio can get together
for a final bow before arthritis crippled those magic moves.
As per Fortune Star releases, the “New and Original
movie trailers” are included. Nothing beats
the original because the new version comes with cheesy flashy
wordings which are more suitable for a web ad.
is a feature which I detest the most, the “Movie
Stills/Photo Slide Show”. Serving absolutely
no purpose other than a good excuse for it to be a so-called
DVD ‘feature’ on the back cover.
Wah Interview” is a short segment with the
veteran action actor who mostly plays the villains in action
movies. Here, he talks candidly about his cigar-chomping villainous
role. The real Yuen Wah is surprisingly quite a nice chap
compared to his onscreen roles. He didn’t get a chance
to show much of his deadly kicks in “Dragons Forever”
but do look out for his dazzling performance in Sammo Hung’s
2 “Deleted Scenes” feature Yuen
Biao’s character visiting his shrink. Mostly play for
laughs and contributes nothing to expand the wafer-thin plot,
perhaps it’s included initially to expand Yuen’s
character. Do look out for a fun bicycle trick which Yuen
Shots” are well NG shots. It’s strange
why the original soundtrack is removed and no one bothered
to insert in at least a music track to accompanied the scenes.
Fortunately, there are a couple of interesting shots. One
for example showed Jackie and his stunt men going through
a simple fighting scene all over and over again.
English version ending song, which was recorded for overseas
market, rounds up the rest of the DVD.
is a reasonably done transfer although certain scenes are
grainy and defects can still be spotted throughout. If you
are not persistent about the visual, I thought it’s
a decent piece of DVD to go through repeatedly especially
the action parts.
soundtrack is remastered in both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1.
There are no high-octane explosions in “Dragons Forever”
to make full use of the DTS or DD5.1 soundtrack. But the surround
gives a good ambience effect during the action sequences.
Thoughts: “Dragons Forever” certainly is
not the best project fronted by the famous trio. Of course it’s
nostalgic to see so many renowned HK films’ talents gathering
in one movie. Corey Yuen who is now a famous action choreographer
in Hollywood and Jet Li’s frequent collaborator serves
as co-director here.
by Linus Tee