Forgotten Action Hero: Dragon Lives Again

Out of all the ridiculously cheesy “Bruceploitation” flicks that came exploding out of the bowels of China’s film industry after the death of Bruce Lee, director Kei Law’s 1977 kung fu comedy “Dragon Lives Again” (aka “Deadly Hands of Kung Fu”) is probably the most offensive of the bunch. The film follows the otherworldly adventures of the iconic martial arts hero as he goes about his business in the busy streets of Hell. Yes, dear readers — Hell. Like all good sinners who are unstoppable masters of kung fu, Lee opens a school and promptly begins instructing students, including Kain from “Kung Fu” and Popeye the Sailor Man. I kid you not. As per usual, not everyone is happy with our hero’s do-gooder ways, and he soon finds himself running afoul of a peculiar group of sinister thugs who are looking to take control of the underworld. His adversaries — which include Zatoichi, James Bond, Emmanuelle, Clint Eastwood’s The Man with No Name, The Godfather, and, last but not least, Dracula and his zombie army — begin hatching one hair-brained scheme another another to rid the world of this ass-kicking thorn, though he’s clearly way too smart to fall for their pathetic tricks. “Dragon Lives Again” makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and, unfortunately, it’s not always for the better. Had the fight scenes been a bit more engaging, my opinion of the film probably would have been a lot more positive. The film exists as a bizarro curiosity piece, nothing more, and you probably won’t feel the need to watch the damned thing more than once. Still, it’s a lot of fun to say that you’ve seen it, especially if you’re a fan of “Bruceploitation” cinema.