REVIEW: Chasing the Dragon (2005)

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2005, Z Productions/American Hwang Fei Hung

Director:
Dr. Zee Lo
Producer:
Dr. Zee Lo
Writer:
Dr. Zee Lo
Cinematography:
Jesse Collins
Editing:
Richard Haymie

Cast:
Dr. Zee Lo (Himself)
Lacee Kine (Michelle)
Arleen Ma (Monica)
Stuart Wong (Doc)
Eric Reed (Don Corleon)
John Truong (Jet Chan)
Patrick Ly (Jackie Li)
Lisa Su (Mrs. Kong)
Shu Ying Ma (Grandma Kong)
Tina Ma (Little Nancy)
Gary C. Kong (Jocky)
Tony Chan (Rocky)
Duane Schrimar (Mr. Jeremy)
Mark Silverman (Marty)
Carl Heinz Teuber (Dr. Hansaker)

Martial artist and indie filmmaker Dr. Zee Lo stars in this autobiographical film about his dream of becoming a movie star while keeping his day job as a doctor.

Dr. Zee Lo is the grand-disciple of Bruce Lee, having learned the art of Jeet Kune Do from Lee’s real-life student Ted Wong. Lo is a doctor by day, but he has a dream and that dream is to follow in his grandmaster’s footsteps and burst into the world of martial arts films. After failing to get a role in an upcoming martial arts film due to the lead star’s disapproval during the audition, Lo decides to write a script in which he melds his love of both martial arts and medicine.

However, Lo soon learns that getting a movie made is not going to be as easy as it seems. He soon becomes obsessed with getting his movie made that it affects his relationship with his girlfriend Michelle and also affects his other job of being a martial arts teacher. However, when he begins to help cute the grandmother of a local immigrant family, Lo realizes that patience is truly a virtue and he can still make his dream come true while keeping his love for medicine and teaching still intact. With his patients and self-financing, Lo finally makes his dream film, Martial Medicine Man come true.

Many are not familiar with Dr. Zee Lo and his films unless you are truly a diehard fan of martial arts films that you would have to search for the rare and independent. While we have covered Martial Medicine Man on this site, this autobiographical film melds Dr. Zee Lo’s story with that of something you would expect in a Bruceploitation film. This includes a fight where Lo is challenged by a long haired karateka, played by co-fight choreographer Eric Reed.

While Lo this time around doesn’t need to emulate Bruce Lee, he does pay homage quite a bit. In a pretty good dramatic scene, Lo actually travels to Seattle and visits the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee. During his audition for a martial arts movie, Lo emulates his hero doing actions seen in films like Way of the Dragon and Marlowe. What’s great here is that Lo not only performs these actions to pay homage to Lee, we do get to take a look at the other side of his life.

Lo is also a doctor and martial arts teacher and we get to see the real side of that. For an autobiopic, this actually works quite well and shows us that Lo is not just all about being Bruce Lee or wanting to follow in those footsteps. Of course, he shows his impatience and how it affects his relationship with his girlfriend in the first half of the film. However, he realizes that with the right timing, he can make his dream come true and succeeds. The viewer is treated to footage of the making of the very film he got off the ground, Martial Medicine Man and even more the better, the film ends with the premiere of the film.

Chasing the Dragon is actually a pretty decent indie autobiographical film about Dr. Zee Lo and his dream of being a martial arts action star while keeping his love for both medicine and teaching. While the fight scenes are what to expect in this genre of film, this is not an action film, but a film about one man’s successful dream.

WFG RATING: B+

This title is available to buy via Dr. Zee Lo’s Reel Asian Films website.

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