Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Black Dragon’s Revenge (1975)



After Bruce Lee died, shameless producers exploited his likeness and name in every way imaginable, whether that involved repurposing footage from unfinished projects, giving similar-sounding stage names to random performers, or, as in the case of this wretched flick, constructing entire plots around the circumstances of Lee’s death. A mindless Hong Kong/US coproduction, The Black Dragon’s Revenge stars formidable African-American martial artist Ron Van Clief as a kung-fu fighter hired to investigate Lee’s demise. Never mind trying to figure out the identity of the fellow who hires him, or why that fellow is willing to spend $100,000 on the investigation, because the storytelling here is so wretched that very little of what happens onscreen makes sense. In any event, once Van Clief’s character gets to Hong Kong, he hooks up with an old buddy, a white martial artist played by Charles Bonet, and they playfully spar before joining forces. Apparently Bonet’s character is a military veteran who lingered in the Far East after his service in Vietnam concluded. Eventually, the dudes begin prowling through Hong Kong and tussling with various nefarious types, including a villain who yanks eyes from sockets, and a villainess who lobs snakes. Van Clief cuts an impressive figure, and he seems quite skilled with all the chopping and kicking and whatnot, but there’s nothing to enjoy here beyond martial-arts exhibitions, because the movie is confusing, disjointed, and schlocky. FYI, Van Clief made several other pictures in Hong Kong—perhaps they were better showcases for his talents.

The Black Dragon’s Revenge: LAME

6 comments:

Steve Carroll said...

That poster art sure looks like it was done by Neal Adams. Looks like the cover to an issue of Deadly hands of Kung Fu Magazine!

Booksteve said...

That IS by Neal. He tried to get into the lucrative film poster market with a half dozen or so posters in the mid-70s but he somehow just never really made it in that field.

By Peter Hanson said...

Unmistakably Neal. One strange aspect of exploring the lower depths of 70s cinema has been discovering how many posters he did, with only a few for real movies (e.g., Westworld). Strange he never caught fire in that business, as his combination of photo-realistic illustration and bold graphics would seem a natural fit. Given the busy layout for this one-sheet and some of the others he did, I would guess he tried to serve too many notes instead of following his own instincts. A little Saul Bass minimalism would've gone a long way.

Guy Callaway said...

Another odd Neal effort is the art for 'The Three Fantastic Supermen' - an extremely odd Italian film from 1967(!), but issued (Stateside) in the mid-'70's.

Booksteve said...

The Three Fantastic Supermen poster is a fun one but it's actually by comic book artist Keith Pollard rather than Neal. It's signed.

Guy Callaway said...

My bad.
Thanks!