The Black Dragon (1974)

Posted in Reviews by - May 22, 2021
The Black Dragon (1974)

An early leading role for Jason Pai Piao, filmed in the Philippines and with a story borrowed from The Big Boss. Jason plays an illiterate, naive country-boy with great kung fu skills who follows his successful brother to the bright lights of the big city in search of fortune. He lands a job on the docks where he discovers that his gweilo bosses are smuggling opium into the cargo. He teams up with Ron Van Clief – making his Hong Kong action film debut – and his crew of righteous karate fighters to take out the boss before inevitably having to face his own brother in the final showdown. This marked the first film in a five-picture deal between Ron Van Clief and Yangtze Productions which would see him become Hong Kong’s first Black kung fu star. The film would become a huge hit in grindhouses throughout the USA under the title, The Black Dragon. (The film is also known by a far more generic name, Tough Guy). Clief’s supporting role is a joy in a film which is a bit slow in places. The fight scenes are neatly stripped back and staged in a dramatic Bruce Lee style – none of this early 70s arm-swinging stuff – and director Tony Lou (himself a kung fu star) does at least attempt to build some semblance of character and drama amidst all the head-kicking.

AKA: Tough Guy.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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