It's one of the "Bruceploitation" films that were made to cash in on Bruce Lee after his death. The story follows Bruce Lee after he dies and ends up in Hell. Once there, he does the logical thing and opens a gym. After fending off the advances of the King Of Hell's naked wives, he discovers that the most evil people in Hell are attempting a takeover, so Bruce sets out to stop it. As if it wasn't weird enough, the evil people are: Zatoichi (the blind swordsman hero of Japanese film), James Bond, The Godfather, The Exorcist, Emmanuelle (the "heroine" of many European softcore porn films), Dracula, and, of course, Clint Eastwood (played by a Chinese guy). Aiding Bruce is The One-Armed Swordsman (hero of kung-fu films), Kain from the U.S. tv series, Kung-Fu (actually played by a Chinese guy this time), and Popeye the Sailor Man! Yes, Popeye the Sailor Man. He eats spinach and helps Bruce fight some mummies.
I agree with the other reviews on here and wasn't going to write one, but thought there was something I could add. I'm not one of the "so bad it's good" crowd. 90% of the time when I've seen something billed that way I've come away saying, "No, that was just bad". "Petey Wheatstraw" comes to mind.
But this one works. It's more absurdist than parody, though some bits are just inscrutable (why does he dress as Cato whenever he fights Dracula???) It appears that it's only bad when it wants to appear bad. It definitely is a "B-movie", but it's a bit to well thought out to actually be one. Not that that means the screenplay is logical. It isn't. But the moving bits fit together just a bit too well to actually be an inferior effort. If you're in the mood for a "so bad it's good" and one of the crowd doesn't swing that way, but likes martial arts films, you could safely give this one a go.
The fighting is largely karate, with obvious bits of Gung Fu added to make it look kind of like Gung Fu. Is that deliberate? Low budget? Who knows. The karate ain't bad. Bits of Muay Thai and lots of other things. Bruce imitates so many of Lee's mannerisms that it doesn't much matter, but for those that want a bit of serious martial arts, some of the karate choreography isn't bad. Again, revealing that it's not so "B" as it wishes to appear.
So, my verdict is "crazy like a fox". Which isn't to underestimate how crazy it is. Popeye. (Cum theme music and real life versions of his classic animation sequences) Yeah, dudes, you betray that you're thinking more than an Ed Wood would. (And that pun is totally in keeping with this film). This jaw-droppingly incredible fantasy yarn is a no-holds-barred insane tale of what happens when Bruce Lee wakes up in the underworld and must fight all of his fellow famous movie stars, who have turned bad and want him to join with them. Don't let the lack of a budget put you off; while the cheap set-bound locations may be unappealing, THE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN is an absolute must-see for bad movie lovers. I frequently found myself guffawing at the bizarre antics on screen and I can truly say that this movie thoroughly entertained me. The only reasoning I can see behind the plot was that whoever wrote it (if indeed it was written in advance as opposed to being made-up on the spot) was high on drugs at the time!
The rather tasteless opening begins as it means to go on as Lee's corpse is wheeled into the Underworld. Once there he continues his lifetime work of being on thugs while encountering various figures from the world of film and television. Zatoichi, Popeye, James Bond, the Exorcist, the Godfather, Emmanuelle, Dracula, the Man With No Name, and the One-armed Swordsman, are all present here, alongside sleaze and nudity scenes and the like. Hilariously, whenever a character pulls off a special move, Bruce names his after his films while the blind guy makes up random titles. Highlights include the "Game of Death" killer blow, and by the time "Blind Dog Pees" came around I was just about rolling on the floor with laughter. None of the action makes much sense but it sure is fun to watch. These guys are hardly skilled kung fu practitioners but they're energetic and that's what counts.
Just when you think the film is over, something new and even crazier happens. This time a ninja guy appears and conjures up a squad of mummies to destroy Bruce. When Popeye took his spinach and started beating up the bad guys, I really could not believe my eyes! Sure I say that a lot but this time it's true, I just couldn't believe the audacity of ripping off the Popeye theme tune with having a bald Chinese guy (Eric Tsang, no less) pretending to be Popeye in the Underworld (why?) and fighting killer mummies (why? why?!?). The happy ending sees Bruce being allowed to return to Earth, allowing for an extraordinarily cheesy shot of a flying dummy on a wire being propelled across a mountaintop (supposedly it's Bruce you see).
Well, what can I say? This is a film for people who want to see some guy pretending to be Bruce Lee fighting other guys pretending to be other famous movie icons. Although they look nothing like their counterparts, having the famous theme tunes pop up when these guys appear was a wonderful idea and adds to the hilarious viewing experience. Music from ENTER THE DRAGON is ripped off periodically along with the real screeches and whoops that were dubbed over the real Bruce Lee in his movies. The dubbing is crazier than usual with funny overemphasised dialogue and silly accents. The acting is wooden and overplayed, although Bruce Leong goes so over-the-top in copying the real Bruce Lee's mannerisms that you can't help but enjoy his performance. The martial arts battles are poorly-staged and nothing to write home about but they do keep the film moving. Forget about the poor production values and enjoy the craziness of the plot and the bizarre, unique actions occurring on screen. THE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN is unmissable entertainment, and one of the lowest-budgeted/biggest imagination combinations in a film that I've ever seen. 7cb1d79195
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