Set during the Opium Wars in the 19th Century, Fist of the Red Dragon tells the tailof two masters of marital arts. One of them leads the battle against the opium trade. The other(played by lead Donnie Yen) is a brash, cocky young man who falls under the spell of the evilprince who rules the territory. Yen must undergo some painful experiences before he realizeswho his real enemy is.
When the fight scenes happen, they are reliably entertaining, with much by w…y of wireacrobatics and some spectacular sword play. There is rather too much irritating material inbetween these moments, however. The domestic comedy, as with so many other films of thistype, is agonizingly bad, and the plot meanders along, making very little sense and goingnowhere in particular, turning the 90 minutes into an eternity until people finally start slashingand bashing each other.
You have a choice between 5.1 and 2.0 tracks, but both are dubbed into English, and, as isever the case, the dubbing is pretty awful. Most of the other new Hong Kong releases come withtheir original language tracks, why not this one? The horrendous dialogue (already a bit muzzyat times) makes the bad comedy that much worse. The surround effects are very weak on the 5.1.They’re a bit better in 2.0, but are still nothing much. The overall effect is of a mono trackdecked out with a few ornamental surround moments.
I’ve had no luck, as yet, tracking down the film’s original date of release, but based on thelook of the picture, I’m guessing mid-80s. In any event, the print has noticeably aged, and isbeset by speckling and grain. The colours are faded, except in some of the night scenes, wherethere are some nice, strong contrasts. The reds are a bit too strong, and stand out even moreagainst the drabness of the other colours.
New trailers for Fist of the Red Dragon, Legend of the Red Dragon (anunrelated film), Returner and So Close. The menu’s main page, intro andtransitions are animated and scored.
The only area where care seems to have been lavished on this is release is the menu.Otherwise, you have a rather old print with horrible English dubbing. The fight scenes are good,but not enough to overcome the long stretches of painful tedium.
Special Features List