Chasing the Dragon

Chasing the Dragon (2017)

chasingthedragon Hong-kong-icon

Donnie Yen stars in this fact-based film on the life of one of Hong Kong’s most notorious drug lords with Andy Lau reprising a role from a two-film series in the 1990’s.

In the year 1960, a man named Ho and his three best friends escaped China and headed for Hong Kong. There, they make their money by joining gangs in street fights. During one fateful night, Ho and his men find themselves enraging a British police officer, Hunter. However, they are saved by Lee Rock, a recently promoted sergeant major who is as corrupt as his fellow officers, but has the smarts to outwits those who rank above him. Ho and his friends one day incur the wrath of crime lord Chubby, who offers Ho and the others a job after Ho proves himself to have impeccable fighting skills.

As the years go by, Ho gains respect within the ghetto known as the Walled City. Plagued with issues involving his brother, who has dropped out of school and has become a drug addict, to the possible idea of a double cross, when Ho learns that Lee is set up to be framed and killed by the nephew of Walled City’s top gangster Master Dane, Ho saves Lee only to be betrayed by his now former boss, who cripples Ho. No longer being able to fight, Ho decides to use his street smarts when he joins forces with Lee Rock. However, with power comes greed and Ho soon finds himself biting the hand that feeds him as he is set to play a dangerous game that could cost many lives.

Surprisingly, one would never have thought that someone like Wong Jing, who has been more known for his buffoonery of films in the 1990’s, would have written this film let alone direct it. However, he collaborated with cinematographer Jason Kwan, who shares both writing and directing with Wong. However, Wong has had his fair share of serious films such as his Colour gangster film series and he has executive produced the original Young and Dangerous films. It is safe to say that if he’s not out there doing goofball-style films, then gangster films are truly his forte.

It is clear that action star Donnie Yen is slowly branching out into roles that allow him to do both his frenetic action skills and even turn in some dramatic chops as well. Ip Man was just the beginning of that transition period, but this film is truly becoming to take that cake. In what is a very bold move, Yen gets to mesh the two strengths in the first half of the film only to take the dramatic side in the second half as his character is in fact crippled. Yen’s character Crippled Ho is based on a real-life Hong Kong gangster, Ng Sek-Ho, who was one of Hong Kong’s most notorious drug lords. Yen pulls off all the stops to tackle the role and does quite a great job of it.

As for Andy Lau, the Heavenly King returns to a familiar role. In 1991, he starred in a two-part film series produced by Wong and directed by Lawrence Lau entitled Lee Rock. The film series was based on Lui Lok, a real-life officer who was involved in major corruption during the 60’s and 70’s. Lau reprises that role and having played the role before, he just seems like a natural fit. Not only does this film bring some excitement that we have Donnie Yen and Andy Lau in the same film, but they actually play each other well.

What many will find extremely important is that while the focus of the film is on Crippled Ho and Lee Rock, the film has no real good guys at all. As a matter of fact, all of the important characters are extremely bad guys with no remorse towards their actions. Aside from Ho and Lee, we have Kent Tong’s Ngan Tong, who starts out as Lee’s superior only to become his biggest rival within the ranks of the police force. Bryan Larkin’s Hunter is the notorious British officer who has a hatred towards Chinese and yet, he finds himself in a situation where he and Lee have to show some sort of respect towards each other because of their profession. Even Ben Ng’s Chubby switches gears from ruthless to benevolent to even more ruthless as it is he who seals Ho’s fate in the first half of the film.

Chasing the Dragon is a film that proves that one, Wong Jing can make some pretty good serious films; two, Donnie Yen can be a solid actor with dramatic chops; and three, just because a film is about gangsters, there don’t need to be any good guys and this is a film where all the important characters are notorious and if need be, ruthless.


An Infinitus Motion Picture/Bona Film Group/Sun Entertainment Culture Limited/Mega-Vision Project Workshop Limited production in association with Sil-Metropole Organisation, Rock Partner Films, and Red Carpet Cultural Industry Investment Fund. Directors: Wong Jing and Jason Kwan. Producers: Wong Jing, Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, Connie Wong, Ren Yue, Jeffrey Chan, Stanley Tong, and Yang Guang. Writers: Wong Jing, Jason Kwan, Philip Lui, and Howard Yip. Cinematography: Jason Kwan, Ko Chiu-Lam, and Jimmy Kwok. Editing: Li Ka-Wing.

Cast: Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, Kent Cheng, Ben Ng, Kent Tong, Phillip Keung, Wilfred Lau, Yu Kang, Michelle Hu, Xu Dong-Dong, Felix Wong, Niki Chow, Bryan Larkin, Philip Ng, Jonathan Lee, Lawrence Chou, Wang Qianyu.


Yen and Lau Go Bad in “Chasing” Teaser

Get ready to see action hero Donnie Yen in a whole new light in the upcoming true story-inspired Chasing the Dragon.

Yen plays “Crippled” Ho, a Mainland China-based immigrant who arrives in 1963 Hong Kong and rises through the ranks to become a notorious drug lord, with a corrupt police officer named Lee Rock joining him.

Playing the role of Lee Rock is the legendary Andy Lau, who actually played the character in a 2-part film series from director Lawrence Lau in 1991.

Jason Kwan and Wong Jing directed this film with Wong writing the screenplay. Co-starring are Kent Cheng, Philip Keung, Wilfred Lau, and Michelle Hu.

Well Go USA has acquired the North American rights while a release date for Hong Kong is set for this Fall.

Chasing the Dragon II: The Blood of Angels and Demons (2006)


2006, Z Productions Limited/Reel Asian Films

Dr. Zee Lo
Dr. Zee Lo
Dr. Zee Lo
Charlie Chang
Chris Odell
Mihoko Odell

Dr. Zee Lo (Himself)
Eva Glasure (Erica Roberts)
Roderick Kong (Rocky)
Tony Chan (Himself)
Professor Leung (Taoist Master Leung)
Lisa Su (Angry Lady/Gypsy)

In this sequel to Chasing the Dragon, Dr. Zee Lo attempts to capitalize on his local success yet he finds it is not an easy road as nightmares begin to plague him.

After making his autobiography Chasing the Dragon, Dr. Zee Lo has lived his dream to become a martial arts action star. Many locals in the San Francisco area know Lo for his other film, Martial Medicine Man: American Hwang Fei-Hung and even call him “Master Hwang”. Dr. Zee continues to teach martial arts in addition to capitalizing on his local success by coming up with a possible television series.

The films attract the attention of local reporter Erica Roberts, who knows a good thing when she sees one. As Dr. Zee attempts to find his way to make his next dream come true, he begins to suffer from horrific nightmares in which he experiences death at the hands of numerous masked ninjas. This convinces Dr. Zee to find Taoist master Leung. As Dr. Zee slowly discovers the truth about his nightmares, he soon finds himself having a revelation about his life and his career and what can happen when he pushes himself too hard to make a dream come true.

Dr. Zee Lo is quite the interesting figure with his self-financed martial arts action films. However, one of his best films is actually a film about himself, Chasing the Dragon, which while shot on video, journeys to his life as we learned about his dream to become a martial arts star, which resulted in Martial Medicine Man: American Hwang Fei-Hung. This sequel takes up to Dr. Zee’s attempt to capitalize on his local success of the film, which begins with the release of Chasing the Dragon.

One thing that Dr. Zee has come to know is that you can’t please everyone. There are scenes in which there are detractors who will find Dr. Zee’s film not exactly blockbusters and cheap. They include a group of young people who eventually become Dr. Zee’s martial arts students and a local punk gang who make fun of him by writing on his poster. However, Dr. Zee’s determination is great and he intends to make the right connections to continue his dream. Yet he tends to sometime push himself to the point where he begins to suffer nightmares involving masked ninjas who constantly fight and ultimately kill him. This seems to have been influenced by the “Demon” nightmare scenes from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. There are also technical issues in terms of dubbing as if one is watching a classic kung fu movie of the 1970’s. It is unclear if this was an intentional thing or not.

There are as many action scenes as his other films, as most of the “action” focuses on Dr. Zee training and the only technical issue is with the nightmare sequences, which suffer from bad lighting. There are a few scenes which prove to have a bit comic relief, such as Dr. Zee punching a basketball only to get berated by an elderly lady played by Martial Medicine Man’s Lisa Su. A decent fight scene involves Dr. Zee taking on three goons who disrespect Bruce Lee at an autograph signing, prompting him to go beyond what he ever expects as a martial artist.

Chasing the Dragon II: The Blood of Angels and Demons is well, like many sequels, not as good as the original. While the moral of the story is there, the nightmare sequences could have been done with better lighting and it could have done without the dubbing effect. Other than that, it is not exactly a totally bad film but an okay follow up.


This film is available to buy on Dr. Zee Lo’s Reel Asian Films website. You can order the film here.


Chasing the Dragon (2005)


2005, Z Productions/American Hwang Fei Hung

Dr. Zee Lo
Dr. Zee Lo
Dr. Zee Lo
Jesse Collins
Richard Haymie

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.


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