AKA: Shaolin Poppy
Year of release: 1995
Genre: martial arts/comedy
Director: Chu Yen-Ping
Action director: Ma Yuk-Sing
Producer: Hui Pooi-Yung
Writer: Chu Yen-Ping
Cinematography: Chan Wing-Shu
Editing: Chen Bo-Wen, Mui Tung-Lit
Music: Ricky Ho
Stars: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Yip Cheun-Chan, Ng Man-Tat, Sik Siu-Lung, Kok Siu-Man, Gu Bao-Ming, Elvis Tsui, Mark Houghton
Rated II for language and violence
Movie Review Index
Oh good lord, what sort of fresh steamy hell is this? From the addled mind of Chu Yen-Ping, who is, in this reviewer's humble opinion, one of the worst directors to come out of Asia in the past twenty years, comes China Dragon, an insipid martial arts/comedy mash-up that will surely test the cinematic mettle of anyone stupid enough to actually sit down and watch the whole thing.
I'm not really sure who this movie was made for in the first place. With the use of two child leads, this would seem to be a release for the tot market. But with the character of Kok (Kok Siu-Man), an annoying rugrat who gives Wong Jing a run for his money in the lechery department, I'm not sure how many parents would be willing to set their wee ones in front of this. Conversely, any serious martial arts fan isn't going to be able to take elements like an eight-year-old beating up adults that seriously.
The film's lack of focus and real intent isn't the least of its' problems. The movie is set in Hawaii. Why? Damned if I know, but it's probably so they could nab some cheap gwailo labor. And anyone that has watch a few Hong Kong movies will already know how these guys fare in the acting department. The term "painful" doesn't even begin to describe how terrible some of the acting on display here is. Also, China Dragon is a sloppily-made movie. Shots often don't line up with each other, the editing is a mess, and the continuity has all of the rhyme and reason of Flavor Flav coming off of a bender.
If I didn't get this DVD via Netflix, I probably would have taken a sledgehammer to it, just to save anyone else the suffering of having their ocular cavities exposed to this form of filmic masochism for ninety minutes. I don't normally advocate that sort of behavior, China Dragon is so utterly horrible that it really has no merits at all, not even being interesting or fun enough to rip on after a few adult beverages. If you ever see this DVD sitting on a shelf, do yourself and your sanity a favor and do not bother picking it up.