Old Stuff

Heart of Dragon (AKA Long De Xin, 1985)

Directed by Sammo Hung

Jack's back with another re-dubbed moldy (1985-ish) release on the US video market. I should have written down the original title but fuck it. This is not one of Jackie Chan's better ones. Matter of fact, there's only one bona fide action segment in the entire film and it occurs in the final reel! Who watches Jackie Chan films for their insightful social commentary or brilliant character portraits? If five minutes pass without some serious ball-kicking high jinx, I start checking my watch. Well, I checked my watch a lot. I don't really want to analyze the plot but when an hour is spent without any chop-socky in sight, what's the choice?

Heart of Dragon

Jackie is a cop who yearns to ditch his mentally challenged brother so he can join the merchant marine and live a more unencumbered life on the high seas. His basically evil plan is to marry his waitress/girlfriend and let her take care of his brother after he ships out! A disproportionate amount of time is spent with the brother as he unwittingly gets into scrapes that inevitably leads to him being bitch-slapped by angry waiters, gangsters, teachers, and even Jackie joins in on the smack-down!

Jackie's cop-friends learn of his big plan to dump and run then spend repeated scenes reminding him of his obligations to his brother. The portrayal of the mentally challenged brother as a wide-eyed behemoth, clad in overalls, with a Mr. Spock haircut is handled for equal parts pathos and laughs. In this way, the film both looks down on the brother and at the same time demands that Jackie hang himself on a cross of family responsibility. Unwittingly, "Heart of Dragon" is the best argument for group homes. Clearly the special care and patience required by his brother is beyond Jackie, but the movie makes the very opposite conclusion. When the brother is held hostage by gangsters, Jackie and friends come charging to the rescue. "Rainman" it ain't. -- Rating: $0.50

copyright 1998 Hollywood Outsider

Old Stuff