Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dragon Hunt aka Dragon Kickboxers (1990)

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Tagline:

When the game turns deadly, the hunters become the hunted.

Back of VHS:

Mad man Jake and his People's Private Army set the captured twins loose on an island with three shifts of killers hot on their trail. Out-numbered and out-gunned, the twins are in trouble. But Mic and Martin, always the underdogs and always with a reputation to fight to their last breath, soon take the upper hand. The hunters become the hunted as the game takes a deadly turn.

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Movie Review:

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Oh wow. Wow wow wow. This is some inept film making right here. I haven't seen such bad overacting in a long while, but somehow this train-wreck of a movie is strangely alluring. I can't say I was laughing my arse off the whole time - I think some mates with beers would be required for that - but I did watch in complete amazement that this thing actually got made.

The plot is one any reader of this blog would be well aware of by now from countless similar movies. Brothers Michael and Martin McNamara (their real names, what a stretch for them) - collectively known in and out of this movie as The Dragon Twins - are out on a weekend date in the Canadian forest with two blondes, doing all the usual wholesome Canadian outdoor activities like shooting clay pigeons from the back of a runabout boat. When they return to their cabin a bloody arrowhead is embedded in the door, a message from the twins' sworn enemy Jake. Thinking nothing much of it the twins go inside to retire and each have a glass of wine provided by their date. Little do they know they were just drugged.

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The best thing in this movie, by far, is the bad guy Jake played by some dude B. Bob. We are treated early on to a flashback of Jake's, perhaps to the first movie (yes, this is a sequel of sorts to "Twin Dragon Encounter") I am not sure, of him fighting the Dragon Twins in another forest. They get the upper hand and shoot an arrow into his hand. The injury must have been more severe than the atrocious special effects led on, as when the flashback is over Jake is shown with a steel glove for his left hand. When I say steel I obviously mean a bad styrofoam prop sprayed with silver paint.

The twins wake up in a cage being laughed at by Jake and all manner of mercenary types to which we are introduced. Firstly there is Jake's little gang, The People's Private Army, who consist of a handful of guys in camouflage with machine guns. Along with them are some ring-ins: "The Fat Man", "The Dumb Man", some Ninjas and an evil poodle called Apache. If you hadn't guessed yet, the name of the game is for these mercenary types to hunt down the Dragon Twins for prize money. No guns are allowed by anyone except the People's Private Army so the Dragon Twins have to contend with rednecks attacking them with chains, crossbows and the evil poodle. The movie plays out like the first Rambo mixed with the the later-released and infinitely superior Surviving the Game or JCVD flick Hard Target. Each group of mercenaries take on the twins, ultimately fail and are replaced by the next batch.

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B. Bob is easily the best (worst) over-actor in the flick, truly hamming up the 'evil bad guy' role so much that he spends much of the movie touting lines such as "The twins think they are going on a Summer vacation... some vacation! MWA HA HA HA HA!" off screen, in voice overs declaring his overwhelming evilness. In fact, with that steel glove and that laugh you could mistake him for Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. If only he had an evil cat.

The 80's style pop music in this movie was written by a guy called Billy Butt. No joke.

The fights are pretty hilarious, though I guess we do get to see the skills that brothers McNamara actually have to some degree. They are apparently relatively famous martial arts instructors in Canada and run/ran their own training schools, even franchising them out to former students, so they must be good at what they do. Acting isn't one of their skills though. In fact it's no-one's skills in Dragon Hunt. If any movie was proof that you can get your friends to act as thick mercenaries and ninjas by paying them with beer, this is it. And B. Bob never stops with his terrible lines and sings children's nursery rhymes to torment the twins.

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The cinematography in Dragon Hunt is just bad. A lot of the fights are so zoomed in you can only see limbs flailing. One scene started with a fade in from black with the actors just standing their looking around until the Director obviously yelled "aaand... action!", the scene then commencing. I did laugh my arse off when Apache the 'savage bear-like dog' was unleashed on the twins with repeated scenes of the loveable dog just running through the forest having a whale of a time, and with savage barking sounds laid over the soundtrack.

I thought I had seen these guys before and I have. Checking IMDB they are listed as 'stunt men' on the fantastic Billy Blanks / Roddy Piper action movie Back in Action. They were the twin henchmen in matching blue singlets, matching zebra pants and matching moustaches that get their arses handed to them by Blanks in a fight in his own house.

I can't recommend this movie as 'good' but if you and your drunken buddies enjoy some serious overacting and awful, awful moustaches on bare-chested kick-boxers, give it a shot. It could have been better if the run time was shaved to 72 minutes to get rid of some of the fluff. I noted in the end credits the first line "This movie was in no way assisted by the Ontario Film Development Corporation". That was blatantly obvious.

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The Video:

Decent quality tape and the film was represented well enough. That's not saying much. Runtime 90 minutes.

Screenshots borrowed from this French review; there's a few more smaller photos there.

Sourced From:

In a bulk score of tapes, about 50c if you divide them up evenly.

Trailer:

Can't find a trailer but this French video even has the same bad Dr. Claw voiceover, just in French.

More Screens:

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5 comments:

  1. Killer review. This looks hilarious!

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  2. This looks downright fantastic. Another film from your recent VHS score? And it's too bad the McNamara's didn't fight Piper in Tough and Deadly, because that would've been some sweet Canadian on Canadian violence.

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  3. Yup another one from my VHS score! There will be more to come from that bulk lot over time.

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  4. Love this movie! I have a Greek-Imported DVD of this film. I wanted to get the VHS of this film, but in my search finding it, the one VHS copy I could find was up for $50 and the box was all cut up, and this film was, obviously, harder to find than Osama Bin Laden. Anyway, I'm rambling here, but still, great flick.

    Here's a trailer for the film courtesy of the Twin Dragons themselves:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWrs6qrljf4

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