• Black Dragon's Revenge, The

    Released by: The Film Detective
    Released on: January 31st, 2017.
    Director: Tommy Loo Chung
    Cast: Ron Van Clief, Charles Bonet, Phillip Ko
    Year: 1975
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    The Movie:

    New York born Ron Van Clief started his martial arts training at a young age and by the time that the kung-fu movie craze had swept across the ocean to American shores, he was ready to capitalize on his hard work and expertise. His first film, The Black Dragon, made him a star and the success of that picture lead to more film deals, primarily in Hong Kong. The closest point of comparison for Van Clief is the better known Jim Kelly, star of Enter The Dragon and Blackbelt Jones, but Van Clief had a strange charisma and screen presence all his own. He milked for every cent it was worth throughout his odd career.

    Made a year after the first Black Dragon movie, this second film in the series finds our titular hero (played by Ron Van Clief) investigating the mysterious circumstances behind, as you could probably guess, the death of Bruce Lee. A rich businessman named Jim Yen who held Lee in high regard is paying him quite handsomely to take the case and he heads off to Hong Kong to complete the job. Once he's there, he teams up with his old war buddy, Jimmy Woodcock and after some preliminary amateur detective work (they go to Lee's house but no one will let them in so they just go away), it starts to look like a gang of corrupt Hong Kong movie big-wigs played a part in Lee's death.

    The more involved in the case the Black Dragon gets, the more dangerous his situation becomes until he finds himself involved with a group of five of Lee's students who are also working hard on cracking the case and along the way, Ron Van Clief fights everybody (which is pretty much the entire point of the film anyway).

    Obviously made fast and cheap to cash in on Lee's death and Van Clief's rising star, The Black Dragon's Revenge (also released as The Death Of Bruce Lee) is a pretty bad movie. The premise isn't too far removed from other, more entertaining Brucesploitation pictures that use Lee's death as a launching pad for the various ridiculous stories that this sub-genre dealt in. The supporting cast brings little to the picture (though it's cool to see Phillip Ko show up and Charles Bonet is just odd enough that he manages to entertain in spite of himself). However, Van Clief does well in the fight scenes, moving quickly and fluidly and making all manner of strange noises as he beats on his opponents - this does make the movie worth a look if you're in the mood for goofy martial arts highjinks but don't take any of it seriously or your brain will explode.


    Black Dragon's Revenge is presented on a 25GB BD-R from The Film Detective sourced from a decent quality print in an AVC encoded transfer presented in 2.35.1 widescreen. The image is a bit on the soft side and there's mild to moderate print damage evident throughout but this is more than watchable and colors look reasonably decent here. This won't floor you but it looks okay.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD Mono track. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. Again, the audio quality here isn't amazing but it is sufficient. There's some occasional hiss and the odd pop audible in the mix but the dialogue is easy enough to understand and to follow.

    There are a few minor extras on the disc -a trailer and a two minute 'Bruce Lee Dubs' piece that removes Lee's name from certain sections of the film's audio. There's also a simple static menu included.

    The Final Word:

    The Black Dragon's Revenge is entertaining enough if you're not feeling too picky. The action scenes are decent enough and Van Clief is a lot of fun to watch here. Throw in a lot of funky seventies fashion, a quirky score and some nice location work and it's easy to see the cult appeal that this one holds.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!