Dragon And The Hawk (2000)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/2/01
Cast: Julian Jung Lee, Barbara Gehring, Trygve Lode

A nasty crime syndicate called The Order has developed a revolutionary new brain-washing drug with the aid of chemical mastermind Therion (Trygve Lode). His cronies have been kidnapping beautiful young girls to test the drug on, and one of them is an Asian girl named Cindy. It's a good thing that she's got a brother in Hong Kong who's a martial arts expert, because when she disappears, he comes to The States to look for her. Dragon Pak (Julian Lee) doesn't have much luck when he arrives in the U.S., but he manages to hook up with a hot-headed cop named Dana Hawkins (Barbara Gehring) who thinks Cindy's disappearance may be related to her own sister's murder. Battling street thugs, the mob, and a corrupt police force, Dragon and Hawk leave a bloody trail of bodies as they push deeper into the underworld and close in on Therion himself.

First of all, I have to thank the people at Inferno Film for checking out my Girls With Guns web site and providing me with a review copy of this film. And just to drop another gratuitous plug, you can check out the official web site for the film at www.dragonandthehawk.com. This movie is standard B-movie action fare, full of bad acting, corny dialog, and just about every cliché in the book. It has plenty of flaws, but it also shines admirably in several places and occasionally rises above the trappings of its genre. The most noteworthy aspect of the film is, without a doubt, Barbara Gehring. She is a tough cop with a no-nonsense attitude, and she can definitely hold her own in a fight. She's also the best actor in the bunch, so nearly the entire dramatic weight of the film rests on her shoulders. Her fight scenes are convincing and surprisingly good, and what she occasionally lacks in physical grace, she makes up for with physical confidence and enthusiasm. She doesn't pull any punches and often fights without any protective padding. Bravo! The film also gets big plus points for not compromising her character, and there's not a shred of romance, sex, or nudity in the film to muck things up. She's a tough chick all the way through, much to the film's credit. Of course, the majority of the action is given to Julian Lee, who kicks and punches his way to justice throughout the film. He's very quick, graceful, and agile, and most of his fight scenes are enjoyable in a Sho Kosugi kind of way. Unfortunately, he has difficulty with his acting scenes, and his delivery is often flat and difficult to understand. But that's nothing compared to Trygve Lode's delivery, which is mind-numbingly bad. I can't help but be reminded of another muscle-bound B-movie hunk, Olivier Gruner, when I see this guy. He's stiff and visibly uncomfortable in every shot he's in, and you can see him nervously noting prop and camera positions whenever he enters a room. His dialog delivery is so flat and uninspired that you can only sit and stare in bewilderment, wondering if this was intentional or not. I'm guessing it probably just amounts to inexperience. So the bottom line is, if you appreciate low-budget actioners and like tough chick action, this film is surprisingly entertaining and worth checking out.