APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Dragons Forever (1988)

April 7: Jackie Day — Celebrate Jackie Chan’s birthday!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

Dragons Forever was the last of the “three brothers” films, starring Jackie Chan, and his opera school brothers Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. This makes the flimsy environment vs. greed storyline less interesting than the powerful themes of friendship and loyalty.

Jackie plays a horny self-serving lawyer who spends a lot of his time trying to keep Sammo and Yuen Biao from beating each other up. It is possible that much of the personality conflicts between the three leads reflected the real life disharmony between the three men at that time. Throughout the film they are constantly opposing each other only to later vow eternal friendship. It is well known that Jackie Chan and Sammo have had their falling outs in real life (there are many rumors as to why) but they have always remained loyal to each other. It appears that no difference of opinion, creative or otherwise, can break the bonds of growing up together in Yu Jim Yuen’s Peking Opera School.

As expected, the action is top-notch with Yuen Biao stealing the show as the loveable psycho. He wears bright yellow sweaters on covert operations and in the subtitled version, pontificates non-stop on modern society. Yuen Biao is the best acrobat and martial artist of the three by far. He should’ve been a bigger star. 

Sammo Hung doesn’t get to do much fighting this time compared to the Project A films, but he serves up some of the best choreography of his career with the help of another of the Seven Little Fortunes opera group, Corey Yuen Kwai. Yuen Wah makes an appearance as the comedic villain, bringing the total number of “little fortunes” to five. This film features the famous re-match between Jackie and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez from Wheels on Meals which pales compared to the original bout, but is still great. Sammo was always a better director than Jackie. His versatility shines through superbly here, pivoting flawlessly between action and situational comedy. Overall, it’s very enjoyable viewing experience. 

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