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CompleteMartialArts.com - Legend of the Red Dragon

Legend of the Red Dragon
List Price: $14.94
Our Price: $10.99
Your Save: $ 3.95 ( 26% )
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures
Starring: Sung Young Chen, Chuen-Hua Chi, Damian Lau, Jet Li, Eric Tsang
Directed By: Corey Yuen
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5

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Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Binding: DVD
Brand: Sony
EAN: 9780767868846
Format: Closed-captioned
ISBN: 0767868846
Label: Sony Pictures
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures
Number Of Items: 1
Publisher: Sony Pictures
Region Code: 99
Release Date: 2002-02-12
Running Time: 83
Studio: Sony Pictures
Theatrical Release Date: 1994

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Editorial Reviews:

A distraught warrior (the charismatic Jet Li) forces his toddler son to choose between a sword and a wooden horse. If he chooses the sword, together they will fight the corrupt government that killed their family; if he chooses the horse, the warrior will send him to join his mother--in hell. Thus begins The New Legend of Shaolin, a wild Hong Kong fantasy. Though the opening sounds grim, the movie shifts ahead seven years and becomes increasingly comic as its plot unfolds. The story centers around a map tattooed on the backs of five boys; it leads to treasure from the Ming dynasty that a heroic sect hopes to use to reestablish the Shaolin temple, which the government destroyed. Meanwhile, Li is forced by poverty to become the bodyguard of a blowhard merchant, who doesn't realize that his bride-to-be is part of a mother-daughter team of notorious thieves. Meanwhile, a villain deformed by a poison that gives him invincible powers is hunting down the five boys, one of whom is the merchant's son... As is usually the case with Hong Kong cinema, the filmmakers have crammed in enough stuff to fill several ordinary movies. The exaggerated stoic conversations between Li and his 7-year-old son, both of them stone-faced and painfully serious, are extremely funny, as are the bizarre bits when the bride's mother masquerades as a ghost. And on top of all this are at least seven spectacular action sequences that are both comic and exciting. A prime example of the unique joys of Hong Kong pop culture. --Bret Fetzer


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Which to buy? New Legend of Shaolin vs Legend of the Red Dragon
Comment: The customer review currently featured first here urges us to buy the New Legend of Shaolin DVD, but many will actually prefer the Legend of the Red Dragon DVD. (For those not aware, these are different releases of the same movie, and the reviews are mixed together here. The Shaolin release is from Tai Seng, a company with a mixed reputation for importing Hong Kong movies; the Red Dragon release is from Sony/Columbia Tristar. What appears to be essentially the same Tai Seng DVD is also here.)

There are two main differences between the two versions.

1. The Red Dragon version is edited so that it's 12 minutes shorter than the Tai Seng Shaolin version. I don't think that necessarily makes it worse. This isn't Citizen Kane, or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. After the misleadingly grave beginning, this is mainly a low-budget, wacky martial-arts comedy, with over-the-top fights and characters, humorous throughout. Judging from comparisons at Hong Kong movie websites, the cuts don't change anything of great importance.

And the 95-minute Tai Seng Shaolin release isn't really the fullest version anyway. Amazon also lists a 100-minute version. I'd happily watch a longer version, but I didn't feel any great gaps that interfered with anything all that important in Legend of the Red Dragon, or find myself wishing it was longer.

2. The other main difference is that Red Dragon offers the English dub only, while Shaolin offers Chinese with optional English subtitles only, with no option for an English dub.

As it happens, the English dubbing on the Red Dragon version is hilarious; it's hard to imagine that the original Chinese is any funnier, especially to those who don't speak Cantonese, or that the subtitles bring out some subtle humor missed in the dub.

So, if you're taking this movie the way it appears to be intended, that is, not so seriously, and you don't speak Chinese, you might prefer the Red Dragon version with the English dubbing. It's currently very cheap used.

If you're not familiar with Jet Li, he's a great martial artist with a long career in Hong Kong and some American movies, capped by the recent Fearless (which is the kind of film that's better in its longer version). If you like Jackie Chan's cheaper outings, or want to see some impressively choreographed martial arts action in a mainly comedic setting, try out whichever version of this movie and you'll have a good time.

Both versions are in non-anamorphic widescreen. The image quality is good.

("Red Dragon" is a key place name in the move, by the way, so perhaps not entirely gratuitously chosen for the title. Not that it really matters. A final note: don't confuse this with the movie called simply Red Dragon--that's a completely different animal, and not half as much fun, in my view.)

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Fun film, poor release.
Comment: This is a fun film and one of the few from the period where Jet just seems to have some fun and go off. But this is a pretty sorry release for it. So Tai Seng is releasing widescreen laser disc masters again? Niiicccee. Wait for a better release. At least that one might not have a Ric Meyers commentary on there. If there's a sure sign of a lack of care from a company releasing kung fu films, it's Meyers' name anywhere on the product.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: 2.5/5-another weird Jing Wong movie with Jet Li
Comment: The only collaberation between Jing Wong and Jet Li that I thought was great was 'Claws of Steel' AKA 'Last Hero In China'. The other 3 movies were not a complete waste though. The only 3 reasons I can think of why he would ever work with Jing is Woo Ping, Corey Yuen, and Sammo Hung. And Corey Yuen really goes over the top with this one but there are a few fights worth seeing. Jet Li plays a stone-faced character and he does it so well. He looks as serious as he can be and it definately goes hand in hand with the way that he can do such a quick action movement and then just be so still afterwords. His awesome performance is so out of place in a Jing Wong movie it is sad to see but still worth a watch.

Now when watching a Jing Wong movie expect a lot of things to not make sense, expect not to see any action for a couple of long periods of time, but expect it to have energy and that drive it needs to keep going. Right away comes a scene played out from 'Lone Wolf and Cub' with Jet being serious like Ogami Ito and Jet's infant son decides to pick the sword and live on the run rather than pick the ball and go to heaven. Even in a scene like this that should be great he has to change it from LW&C; and make it so Jet guides the boy to the ball. The first action sequence of the movie is by far the best. In a Jing Wong movie you know that you will have a super low budget and filming will last 2 weeks max(seriously), so that means Corey Yuen has to do as much as he can with limited everything. Luckily he has Jet and his son in the movie Xie Mao who you can also see with Jet in 'My Father Is a Hero'. Xie Mao has AWESOME skills, or at least did and since there are not a lot of great kid screen fighters, he gives the film a bit of a unique feeling.

So the movie starts out with Jet's Shaolin brother(Gai Chun-wa) betraying him and the best fight of the movie comes first sadly. Gai Chun-wa from Jet Li's Shaolin Temple movies and 'Fong Sai Yuk 2' is as good of a villian you will ever find. His Wolverine claws are freaking sweet and even when Jing Wong puts a bunch of stupid makeup on him and makes him a monster, you still can't cover up his intensity. Now again, since this is a Jing Wong movie and you get a bunch of mindless plots that come and go. The mother and daughter as thieves work best only because Chingmy Yau is good in her role and Deannie Yip is such a wonderful actress. I wouldn't recommend this if you are not a Jing Wong fan but if you are then you will love all butt in the face jokes and such.

There is actually a recent commentary on this disc so Tai Seng must have re-released it again since I just recently bought this movie. I hadn't seen it in a long time and last time I saw it was the Sony Pictures version which is cut and English dubbed. Tai Seng has the original audio on here though they didn't put on an English track and it is in it's original 16:9 screen format. The commentary is from Ric Myers, Frank Jane, and some guy who I think they said is the presodent of Marvel Comic movies. The commentary is not bad but they should have at least talked more about what is going on with martial arts movies today. I haven't heard many Tai Seng commentaries in the past few years and it just could have been much better. Frank Jane of course gives you the most info just like all the commentaries but he only says a few words here and there as Ric rambles on throughout. I don't like to rate commentaries but this was slightly above average.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Run of the Mill mid-80's Kung fu Romance
Comment: This is not a bad flick and there are 2 or 3 fight scenes worth watching again - but Jet Li's stoic performance is overshadowed by unrealistic wire stunts and silly gimics. Surprisingly, I was not annoyed by the young kung fu kid in this one (I'm almost always annoyed by these "cutsey" kid kung fu interludes)... it was actually rather amusing - but (yes another but), the villian just wasn't good enough, and that's always a downer. The villian rides around in some metalic shiney future mobile that is so dumb it surpasses absurd insanity and falls into the "what the hell was this movie about anyways."? Still can't figure out what the director was thinking.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: new legend of shaolin
Comment: offers enough novel action and cute humor to satisfy. For us guys, the female thief is cute, sexy, funny. Standout scene for me is when Jet, as a bodyguard, is courted by her when she tries to measure him up for some badly needed new clothing. The kid also deserves mention: evidently this kid is the real deal and his fight with other kids is a somewhat rare sight. Fight scenes are more stylised than actual but they are choreographed with style. Toward the end there is a big surprise when the vile baddie shows up. He is really different and nasty as hell. You won't believe what he has and Jet has a real challenge to beat him. Overall, should please anyone who likes the feudal period.


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