16 October 2019 | Falconeer
Kung Fu/Exploitation Hybrid
Solid, very adult-oriented sequel to another fine Martial Arts gem, the original "Black Dragon" from 1974. Featuring the powerhouse "Kung Fu King," Ron Van Clief, who is once again battling corrupt heroin smugglers, like in the first installment. This is the third entry in the "Black Dragon" series, although the second film is fairly worthless nonsense that has no connection with the other films, other than the presence of Van Clief. "Way of the Black Dragon" is one of the sleaziest and most disturbing films of this kind, as it's actually a strange hybrid of two genres; the Kung Fu genre and the "sexploitation" genre that makes this one a real Grindhouse title directed at adult audiences. The first half of the film tells a sordid tale of both heroin smuggling and white slavery, as a slimy drug cartel kidnaps a group of innocent young women in Thailand and forces them to board a plane to Hong Kong, with bags stuffed with heroin, hidden inside their vaginas. After they make the drug delivery, they are expected to remain in Hong Kong as prostitutes. This portion of the film is very detailed, and is a real expose of drug smuggling and sex trafficking, and for those interested in the subject, this part of the movie will be so fascinating that you might be surprised at the martial arts action that explodes on to the screen in the second half. And explosive is the word, as Ron Van Clief appears on the scene, searching for one of the missing girls. This is a fine buildup to the action , but audiences looking for nothing more than wall to wall kung fu fight scenes with little story might lose patience with this story heavy flick. Filmed on location in both Thailand and Hong Kong, "Way of the Black Dragon" features footage of many exotic locales, which is always fun to see. Some viewers might be offended at how savagely females are treated in this one, but when Van Clief teams up with the brother of the missing girl, who is a champion Muay Thai fighter, they really get their revenge, in a long, exciting finale that includes a wild speed boat chase. It feels like a big production with all the different plot developments and the many different filming locations, at least in the 92 minute version that I have seen. Apparently there are some censored versions floating around out there, some as short as 75 minutes long, so be aware of what you are getting. "Way of the Black Dragon" and it's predecessor from 1974 are in desperate need of the Bluray treatment, as the only prints available for so many of these Chinese movies are scratchy, cut to pieces and horribly dubbed. These films deserve to be rediscovered..this is true vintage Gold.