Fist Of The Dragon (2013)

Rating: **
Review Date: 8/15/15
Producer: Roger Corman
Cast: Joshua Thomson, Juju Chan, Ellary Porterfield, Xin Sarith Wuku, Maria Tran, Michael Chan

Retired MMA fighter Damon "The Dragon" Chamberlin (Joshua Thomson) meets a Chinese girl named Meili (Juju Chan) online and decides to meet her in person. He orders some moon cakes at a local restaurant and mistakenly receives a package of great interest to both Interpol and an international crime syndicate. With Meili kidnapped and Damon wanted for murder, time is running out to figure out what's so damned important about the moon cakes and what should be done with them. Fortunately, Damon gets some help from Meili's American friend, Cassie (Ellary Porterfield), and together they manage to even the odds.

Truth be told, it's a pretty bad film, but it's much better than I expected it to be. The story is appallingly stupid, the visual effects are embarrassingly bad, and the acting is average at best, but the fight scenes are surprisingly well done. Joshua Thomson is a weak actor and his character is pretty annoying, but he's a good fighter with a great sense of presence. Juju Chan is a terrible actress and her character is supremely irritating. She also wears a pair of horrifically distracting colored contacts that make her look inhuman. She has little to do but scream and look uncomfortable, which is unfortunate because she's actually an accomplished martial artist and stunt woman. Xin Sarith Wuku and Michael Chan are excellent fighters, and the best fight scenes are between them and Thomson. However, it's Maria Tran who nearly steals the show as a sadistic assassin, and her tussle with Thomson is extremely well done. She is someone to keep an eye on in the future.

While the fight scenes are nicely executed, they get dragged down by excessively loud and generic sound effects, and unconvincing digital effects tend to spoil the fun. For a low budget martial arts action movie with a mixed cast, it's considerably better than similar fare. If you don't go into it looking for something intelligent and/or emotionally engaging, you might be pleasantly surprised.