Plot: What’s it about?
In Dragon Fist, Jackie plays a martial arts student who has been forced to seek vengeance of the worst kind. You see, his master has been murdered and as such, Jackie is determined to avenge his master’s death. Although he has a lot of wrath inside, Jackie is also very sad and begins his journey in a rather somber mood. As he travels across the lands, Jackie soon gets close enough to the killer to learn of his location, now he simply has to find him and of course, dispatch him to honor the memory of his master. But as soon as he tracks the killer down in an isolated village, he discovers the killer is no lowlife, but a man haunted by his own actions. The man is soaked with guilt and in an effort to pay for his deed, he even cut off one of his own legs. Soon enough, Jackie finds himself in conflicts of all sorts, from this crippled man to an evil warlord, when Jackie must decide which side he wishes to fight on.
This is more serious than most of Chan’s films, but Dragon Fist is still a solid picture and offers some great moments. This one has a predictable, rather thin storyline, but has a couple nice twists, which keeps it interesting. The real draw is the action however, as Jackie Chan (Rumble in the Bronx, Drunken Master II) and his costars provide some terrific battles. I know it can be hard to sift through Chan’s earlier films, but Dragon Fist is one of the better ones, filled with very cool fights and such. The action sequences seem to get better as the film moves ahead, with the end battles standing out as the best ones, I think. Perhaps not his best work, even from this time period, but Dragon Fist is a lot of fun to watch, without a doubt. In other words, if you want to see some classic Jackie moments and tons of cool fights, check out Dragon Fist for yourself. This edition from Columbia is no by means flawless, but it is the best home video edition available at this time, so make sure to pick up this version, as opposed to the other inferior releases.
Video: How does it look?
Dragon Fist is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I had low expectations for this transfer, but the end result was quite pleasing, even if not flawless. The image is cleaner and sharper than expected, but shows sort of a “digital sheen” at times, with some edge enhancement and shimmering present. But this never proves to be distracting, nor do the small nicks and debris that surface on the source print. This transfer may have some problems, but it still looks terrific and should more please fans, to be sure.
Audio: How does it sound?
On this disc you’ll find both Cantonese & English language options, so whichever method you prefer, you’re covered here. As usual, the English dub is hilariously bad and features some bad voice acting, but if you seek comic relief, it is worth a listen. The Cantonese track is more natural of course, but in terms of technical merits, it is also much better, as the English track is too quiet and hard to understand at times. The basics seem covered here, with clear music, humorous sound effects, and clean dialogue, but don’t expect much more than that. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Spanish, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.