DRAGON BLOOD (1982) is the third and final John Liu directorial work, and the only one where the American release doesn’t pretend it’s about ninjas. This one is a traditional period martial arts picture, so he can’t play Hong Kong movie star and creator of Zen Kwan Do John Liu. Or at least I don’t think so. But about halfway through he’s referred to by name for the first time, and it’s “John Liu.” Also, his co-star of all three films, Roger Paschy, plays “Paschy.” Maybe they’re older than they look. Or maybe they’re just such iconic characters they can be transported to different time periods, like Mickey Mouse.
This John Liu is the son of China’s best fighter. Dear old dad won that title and two small golden dragons from the Emperor. That was a curse, though, because he spent the rest of his life fighting off Chinese challengers to the title and western treasure seekers. He hated it. A total bummer. Never win the golden dragons, is my advice.
But on his last day he fights a guy who does not want the dragons, just the honor of challenging the greatest fighter, and as a fight connoisseur himself he’s cool with that. But then he gets jumped by another guy so he gives the dragons to the first guy and makes him promise to take care of his son. Personally I would be like, “Well, I mean, I’m flattered, but I wasn’t really looking for that type of a life time commitment here,” but this guy is more responsible so he becomes John Liu’s adoptive father. (read the rest of this shit…)
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.