REVIEW: Dragon and the Hawk (2001)

dragonandthehawk

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2001, Inferno Film Productions/Sun Films

Director:
Mark Steven Grove
Producer:
Darlene Cypser
Writer:
Robert Gosnell
Cinematography:
Charles Gary
Editing:
George W. Ball

Cast:
Julian Lee (Dragon Pak)
Barbara Gehring (Lt. Dana “Hawk” Hawkins)
Trygve Lode (Therion)
Grace Galvez (Cindi Pak)
Allen Heaton (Aish)
Michelle Grove (Mai’im)
George Elliot (Stan Hawkins)
Jennifer Kahler (Lora Chan)

Korean-born martial arts master Julian Lee teams up with a tough female detective in this pretty good action thriller from director Mark Steven Grove.

Dragon Pak is a Korean martial artist living in Hong Kong who has arrived to the United States. He hasn’t heard from his sister Cindi in two months and his family is worried. He decides to find her and vows not to go home until he finds her. As he searches for Cindi, a local detective, Lieutenant Dana “Hawk” Hawkins is also on a case of a murdered Asian woman who was found with rope burns and a mark similar to one that killed her sister months before.

After a meeting at a bar, which leads to a fight with some thugs, Dragon and Hawk help each other with their cases. They soon learn that their cases are connected to a scientist named Therion, who has developed a new drug that enhances physical development but can prove to be lethal when taken in big doses. However, the drugs in small doses over time can be successful. Will the martial arts master and the tough detective be able to stop the scientist turned dealer and will Dragon be able to learn what has happened to Cindi?

Taekwondo master Julian Lee was truly an underrated star of some 90’s B-movies that were shot in Colorado, where he runs a martial arts school. Here, he plays the character of Dragon Pak, which sounds like it could be a Bruce Lee-clone. He has only one thing on his mind: to find his sister. As the Dragon, Lee may not have the best acting skills in the world. Let’s face it, he kind of comes off as monotonous, but he doesn’t need to be the greatest actor in the world. He lets his skills do the work for him.

Going into the film, I didn’t know much about Barbara Gehring, who plays the Hawk of the title. She does quite well not only as the revenge-seeking Hawk, but she can hold her own in the fight department. It’s a bit surprising she hasn’t done any more action films or any films as she is focused on her comedy group out in Colorado. As for Trygve Lode, who also served as executive producer, he pulls off the villainous role of Therion pretty well here, showing that despite having a slick style to business, can be menacing when it comes to his physical strength.

Daryl Rolando and director Grove served as the film’s stunt coordinators. They truly made good use of the cast’s martial arts skills. Lee and Gehring look quite good when they fight with Lee using his trademark taekwondo skills while Gehring uses karate, which she studied under her husband. Surprisingly, there are some pretty good subfights with one including Therion’s two enforcers Aish, played by Allen Heaton and Mai’im, played by the director’s wife, Michelle Grove. Mai’im gets the most action of the enforcers and shows she is truly one deadly female. A fight between her and Hawk may have been the typical. However, instead, we do see Mai’im get to take on the Dragon himself in a fight scene towards the finale. As for the climactic fight, it is a little bit of a letdown, but nonetheless, a fitting end and what could (or could not) have lead to a possible sequel, which could have worked.

Dragon and the Hawk is a fun ride of a B-movie with Colorado martial artists Lee and Gehring leading the way with a pretty good performance from villain Lode and a major kick-butt performance from Michelle Grove. Despite a bit of a letdown in the climactic fight, this is still a pretty decent film that’s worth a rental or even an optional purchase.

WFG RATING: B

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