Another title from Video Asia and First Look Pictures, this ten-film collection, titled Dragon Immortal showcases not ten Bruce Lee films, but rather ten films that occurred after his death. It’s certainly a unique collection and fans of Lee no doubt have seen the many “substitutes” that came along after his passing, but for those who haven’t had the opportunity to pick up ten in one spot before (legally), now’s your chance. Brought together in a three disc set, these ten films showcase just how influential the martial arts legend really was.
After the untimely death of Bruce Lee dozens of “Bruceploitation’ films emerged to supply the demand of his fans who wanted to see something of their beloved hero. To that end ‘Bruce’ clones from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Philippines, and even Thailand came to fill the void and made some of the most intriguing, odd and bizarre movies about the man. This collection brings ten of the most interesting films of this sub genre. From the biographical ‘Bruce Lee’s Deadly Kung Fu’ where he goes up against the Mafia and the animated Chinese Gods where Bruce Lee is brought back in cartoon form, to the Clones of Bruce Lee where he is revived not once but thrice, you get the full impact of the Dragon Immortal experience.
The films here range from 1975 to 1983, so while they’re dated they aren’t terribly old. Having said that, the vast majority of these films are really just terrible. As with the Ninja Collection I reviewed awhile back, these films here probably haven’t seen the light of DVD before simply because they had no reason to. This is a rather poor sampling of films and I hate to think that they’re the best of the faux Bruce Lee films, but hey…it’s not a genre I’m familiar with (or knew existed) so I can’t make much of an educated guess, but a lot of these are really just…complete crap.
“Bruce Lee’s Secret” (1977), “Counter Attack” (1981), and “King of Kung Fu” (1982) are the only three films out of the ten that are even really worthwhile. The films, while not remarkable in the least, are fairly well constructed and at least entertain in a wholly goofy and hokey way. None of the films present an impeccable rendition of Bruce Lee and quite honestly I didn’t know half of (or any of, probably) the time what was a homage and what was unique to the films. Still, fans of the man may find these films entertaining simply because of how hokey they are.
Overall it’s nice to see ten films in one set, but when none of them are really worth watching…well, then it’s time to move on. For fans of the legendary martial arts master, it’s worth a Rental, but for everyone else? Skip It.
The set arrives in a standard three-disc, single width amaray DVD case. Discs 1 and 2 don’t contain labels and are double sided, single layered discs, while the final disc is a single layer single sided affair. The packaging for the release is kind of hokey (and kind of looks like a bootleg) and…really, there’s not too much else to say about this one.
I had hoped the situation with the video transfers for this release would be different from the Ninja Collection, but, alas, they’re the same atrocious looking transfers here as well. They’re all non-anamorphic widescreen transfers, with transfer issues galore. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen digital artifacts on video transfers, but green blocks frequently pop up on screen during the transfers for almost all of these films. On top of that there are quite a few films that have VCR scan lines crawling along the top that make these transfers look absolutely horrendous. Audio is much better, as it often sounds like a tin can.
As you can imagine, this isn’t the greatest release; transfers suck and the movies…well, they suck too. Still, it’s an interesting genre of action films and, again, fans may find it a worthwhile rental, but for the majority you can Skip It.
Dragon Immortal arrives on DVD on January 27th.