Director: Sammo Hung
Starring: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Deannie Yip
Lawyer and ladies’ man Jackie (Jackie Chan) finds his latest case, a civil dispute between a factory and a landowner more difficult because of his attraction to his opponent’s cousin (Pauline Yeung). Utilizing help from friends Tung (Yuen Biao) and Fei (Sammo Hung), he sets about looking for an advantage for his case, all the while battling misunderstandings, triads, and discovering the dirty truth behind his client (Yuen Wah).
Considered a classic of 80s HK cinema, Dragons Forever features the talents of multiple “Little Fortunes,” both in front of and behind the camera. Taking a fairly simple premise, the talents of all involved have created an enormously entertaining HK classic that while dated, retains much of the energy and fun that has let it endure throughout the years. The chemistry between Chan, Biao, and Hung is undeniable and this is perhaps their best collaboration with all three. The humor is appropriately cheesy but charming all the same and even the somewhat forced romantic subplots add to the allure of this era of film. One also can’t forget the very memorable theme song sung by our man Jackie. It somehow coalesces into a terrifically entertaining affair flows well and holds your attention easily.
It should come as a given that the action is terrific. Multiple scuffles, each better than the last, converge into a rematch between Jackie and Benny Urquidez that is long, brilliantly choreographed, and exhilarating to watch. Among the many great scenes on display, standout sequences include; a three way brawl, something notoriously difficult to choreograph but somehow done amazingly, between the three leads, a boat/restaurant fight between Jackie and a group of thugs led by Dick Wei, and the wince inducing and fall packed finale in a factory. What else can be said besides that these are legends at the top of their game and the simple presence they share together multiplies the quality of the film rather than simply adding?
Requiring more than a little suspension of disbelief, some segments may push uninitiated tastes over the line; the judge sequence towards the end is, in my opinion, very funny but certainly not as realistic as today’s audiences may expect. The events are all taken for pure entertainment and hopefully viewers can just enjoy the ride and accept the quirkiness that is 80s cinema, and not just specifically from Hong Kong.
In the end, Dragons Forever is a Hong Kong classic that not only utilizes some of the best talent of the day, but manages to still be as entertaining and as strong an entry in the filmography of everyone involved. With solid and effective humor that showcases the comedy of this great trio and some of the best fight scenes ever put on screen, this is a film that needs to be watched and repeatedly.
You may enjoy this film if you liked: My Lucky Stars, Winners and Sinners, and Wheels on Meals