88 Films have started releasing new 2K restorations of some early Jackie Chan classics onto Blu ray and here we review Dragon Fist released in 1978.
Lo Wei is the person who directed Bruce Lee in his first two movies, The Big Boss and Fist of Fury and after Lee’s untimely death in 1973 he tried in vain to find a “new” Bruce Lee and started with Jackie Chan in New Fist of Fury in 1976.
A String of box office flops followed all starring Chan, so he decided to loan him out for 2 films to the Seasonal film company where he made Snake in the Eagles Shadow and Drunken Master and these films then made Jackie a superstar in Hong Kong breaking box office records.
Dragon Fist was made before these films and was shelved but then hurriedly released to capitalise of Jackie Chan’s now current star status. It is a fully serious revenge drama with non of his trademark comedy but did show off his choreographic and general Kung Fu skills very well.
After a martial arts tournament to determine the greatest Kung fu school in the region, the Tang San Clan is named the winner. The celebration is cut short by the arrival of the leader of the Champion Clan who declares Tang San’s win false until he’s able to beat his famous techniques. After the fight the master of the Tang San Clan is mortally wounded. Jackie then sets out to find the rival clan master and get his revenge but things are not all they seem.
There are enough plot twists and turns to keep the viewer interested and to give it credit, it does not follow the usual master / student / revenge plot which was done to death by then. As mentioned the fight choreography is very well done with Jackie being near the peak of his fitness and his techniques are sharp and effective.
The story does plod along at times and while it shows nothing new you can see Jackie progressing as an action star and its certainly worth a watch if your an old school Kung Fu movie fan.
The film has been released on DVD numerous times but this new 2K transfer blows all other releases out of the water even though there are problems with it. The colour and contrast have been boosted so much and with excessive DNR it gives it a very waxy look. Adjusting your screen settings will help a lot and as said before it is still miles ahead of any other release.
Audio is fine, original mono in Cantonese, Mandarin and English dubbed with good English subtitles. Extras are an interesting if brief overview of the film and Jackie’s career at the time by David West and the original trailer. Also included are a set of reproduction lobby cards and you have a reversible sleeve option.
Overall a recommended release, its a shame that the transfer and remastering was over boosted but it still should be a must buy for any Jackie Chan or Kung Fu movie enthusiasts.
FILM :7 PICTURE: 7 AUDIO: 8 EXTRAS: 5