REVIEW: Sun Dragon (1979)

sundragon

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1979, The Eternal Film Co. Ltd.

Director:
Hwa I-Hung
Producer:
Pal Ming
Writer:
Lin Chan-Wai
Cinematography:
Nico Wong
Editing:
Allan Poon

Cast:
Billy Chong (Shao-Tung)
Carl Scott (Tommy)
Louis Neglia (Jimmy)
Ma Chung-Tak (Ma Shaw-Yee)
Joseph Jennings (Jackson)
Richard Foo (Kim)
Lam Hak-Ming (Ah Kun)
Leung Siu-Chung (Dr. Ko)

A tale of revenge highlights the talented skills of teenage American martial artist Carl Scott in this kung fu film classic.

Shao-Tung is a Chinese martial artist who has arrived to the United States to look for his grandfather, who has settled down in Arizona. As he looks for his grandfather, he runs into an old friend, Ah Kun, who works at a local saloon and with the support of owner Kim, Shao-Tung finds a place to stay. Meanwhile, a trio of robbers, Jimmy, Jackson, and Ma Shaw-Yee, are trying to find a place to hideout. They come across an African-American family’s cabin and when they refuse to sell them the property, the trio kills all but teenager Tommy, who narrowly escapes but is seriously injured.

Tommy is nursed back to health by Dr. Ko after being found by Shao-Tung and Kun. Dr. Ko learns what has happened and teaches Tommy martial arts. Meanwhile, after Shao-Tung fends off some local extortionists, the trio of robbers have hired the extortionists to go after Shao-Tung. While Tommy’s motive is revenge, Shao-Tung’s motives are to help those in need. However, when both Kim and Kun are killed by the extortionists, he vows revenge for his friends as well. Soon, Tommy and Shao-Tung join forces to go after the robbers and end their reign of terror once and for all.

This underrated kung fu film has the notoriety of being shot on location in Arizona. The top billing goes to the duo of Indonesian martial arts star Billy Chong and American teen kung fu expert Carl Scott. As the second film in his contract with Pal Ming’s Eternal Film, Scott is truly the star of the film with Chong pulling second. It is Scott’s Tommy we see getting injured, learning kung fu courtesy of fight choreographer Leung Siu-Chung, and then seeking revenge. Scott is great to watch and from his posture, we see that Tommy’s style is that of Leopard Style, a style Scott has studied in real-life.

Chong, as always, is great to watch on film. After the success of Crystal Fist, Chong once again shines with his scenes here. This time, he plays the kung fu hero who just wants to help those in need while looking for his grandfather. With their chemistry in the film, Chong seems happy to let Scott take charge and serve as his backup when needed. Of course that is saved for the finale. Before we get into that, we see Chong take on a band of railroad workers and then his bar fight against the extortionists here led by New York-based kung fu expert Joseph Jennings. Scott goes after some thugs followed by revenge against Ma Chung-Tak. The finale is a three-stage fight with former kickboxing champion and current fight promoter Louis Neglia as the nemesis of the film. It starts with Scott against Neglia, then Chong against Neglia, then both Scott and Chong against Neglia and it is quite well done under Leung’s choreography.

Sun Dragon may be a run of the mill kung fu film. However, Carl Scott is truly great to watch as is Billy Chong. Louis Neglia makes for a very good lead villain and Leung Siu-Chung’s choreography is nice and fluid, highlighting the skills of many in the film.

WFG RATING: B

DVD

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