The Dragon Lives Again (1977) Reviewed

"Caine," "Bruce Lee" and "Popeye" join forces in "The Dragon Lives Again."

"Caine," "Bruce Lee" and "Popeye" join forces in "The Dragon Lives Again."

THE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN (1977)
Here’s one that will change your life. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this obscure kung-fu find of finds. It belongs to the durable “Brucesploitation” subgenre that sprung up after the unexpected death of the poised-for-superstardom Bruce Lee. These movies starred martial arts actors with suspiciously similar names (Bruce Lei anyone?). The Dragon Lives Again stars Bruce Leong (listed other places as Siu-Lung Leung) who is still working today in movies like 2004’s Kung-Fu Hustle. The plot seems lifted from some 11 year-old boys fever dream: Bruce Lee is dead and hanging out in “the underworld” (…hell?…purgetory? It’s never clear). He doesn’t look like Lee because, according to some early dialogue, you look different in the afterlife. That distracting detail is dispatched just like that from the get go. After opeing an afterlife gym, he’s forced to battle The King of the Underworld and several evil beings of the afterlife: James Bond (?!), “The Godfather,” (?!) Dracula (and his army of mummies) and “Clint Eastwood.” He’s aided in the effort by even MORE (mostly NOT DEAD) pop-culture touchstones like Popeye and Emmanuel (!?!?). Keep in mind these are all just Chinese actors dressed up like kids for Halloween. Clint Eastwood, for example, is just another kung-fu supporting star, but he’s dressed in the real Eastwood’s iconic Fistfull of Dollars poncho. The Chinese Popeye actually eats spinach and participates in some cartoon-style fisticuffs. Emmanuel (the single American performer in the cast — playing a Brittish literary character) seduces one of the villains for a “comical” sex scene. There’s a giant-erection joke, some gratuitous (and fairly sexy) nudity, lots of poorly translated puns and some of the worst dubbing ever. Some of the story is, no doubt, obscured by the inept attempts at English translation, but you won’t mind. I found DLA in a 10-movie set of cheapo kung-fu movies, and as expected, it’s taken from a severely abused print that only adds to the show’s grindhouse appeal. This is a must…for everyone…but especially fans of the genre and obscure-gem miners like yours truly. Find it. See it. Love it.
***

SEE the Chinese POPEYE from “The Dragon Lives Again”:

~ by Number5ive on November 3, 2008.

3 Responses to “The Dragon Lives Again (1977) Reviewed”

  1. It’s great fun! Here in Italy this movie isn’t available, so I saw it in English (dubbed!) I’d like to dub it in Italian and release it under the title ”Bruce Lee contro tutti” (Bruce Lee against everyone), it would be a hit IMHO!!!

    Your blog is GREAT!!!
    Ciao!

  2. It’s great to see another rave-up this. This is a classic of Brucesploitation.

  3. Mein gott that sounds like a flick of pure unadulterated awesomeness.

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