The Black Dragon’s Revenge (1975)

Posted in Reviews by - November 05, 2017
The Black Dragon’s Revenge (1975)

A pretty decent showcase for USA karate ace Ron Van Clief, launched into the movie business by American producer Serafim Karalexis to become Hong Kong’s first Black action star. It’s blaxploitation meets Bruceploitation as Clief returns to his cinematic alter-ego, the ‘Black Dragon’, meeting up with his taekwondo buddy Charles Bonet to investigate the death of his friend Bruce Lee. Ron did actually know Bruce Lee, and much of the film feels strangely prescient considering the mood in Hong Kong only a couple of years after his sudden death. We see shots of Queen Elizabeth Hospital where Lee was pronounced dead, and there are scenes at the same iconic locations where Enter the Dragon was filmed. A local kung fu school are also shown to be investigating his death, and even if the film does not explicitly link it to a murder case, it at least implies as much. They find a well-known actress called Miss Tang who was with Lee the night he died, and although uncooperative, she is shown to have mob ties, which leads a drug boss to send the heavies after them. The film stops short of providing any form of conclusion, and instead Clief – plus Jason Pai Piao and Yuen Qiu – are forced to take out the baddies and a mad snake lady, although no sense of motive is ever revealed. It’s another cathartic experiment in providing closure on the death of Bruce Lee which is both exploitative and fascinating. Plus, you get to see Clief in his karate prime, performing katas and demonstrating his awesome skills with sai swords.

AKA: The Black Dragon Revenges the Death of Bruce Lee; Death of Bruce Lee; Revenge of the Black Dragon.

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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 laptop in London, UK.

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