Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dragon Lee vs. Five Brothers (1978)

Picked up a 19 pack of apparently PD kung fu movies the other day and this is the first one I watched.  My love of Shaw Brothers movies generally has spoiled me to watching the cheaper looking movies from other studios, but there are some real gems out there that didn't come from the Shaws, i.e. Ninja in the Dragon's Den being a prime example.  So while I have seen some of these before here and there, I'll be reviewing them as I watch them.  The DVD set features Bruce Lee's picture on it and there's not a one of his movies in it.  Just as well, though there's a ton of the lookalikes and even one of Brandon's movies.  I'm hoping to enjoy all of them to some extant, but after watching this one I'm inclined to believe more of them may be a chore to get through.

This movie is pretty good, but too convoluted for it's own sake.  Dragon Lee, acting like Bruce and at least being dubbed in with Bruce's trademark sounds, is our hero, carrying a list of patriots with him.  This doesn't sit well with the ruling Manchus and they want to stop him.  The problem is with some of the subplots that cause the movie to meander about a bit and get caught up in side stories before getting back to business.

Still the movie is pretty action packed, and decently shot.  There's a couple of really cool and interesting shots during the fight scenes, but there's also a lot of the "chop-edit" stuff to hide stunt doubles, as well some use of wires.  Nothing overly bad, but occasionally jarring to see a hero run away over the tops of trees.

I feel sorry for the Bruce Lee clones, since they were pretty much forced to act like him and they almost all over did it to the point of parody.  This movie is presented in a widescreen format but has a lousy print and some muffled audio as well.

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