Written by Gary at Cracked Rear Viewer
I thought I’d seen all the 70’s Kung-Fu movie greats – Bruce Lee , Jackie Chan , Jim Kelly , Sonny Chiba – but I’d never even heard of Ron Van Clief until I watched BLACK DRAGON’S REVENGE. Guess his films never played at my neighborhood Grindhouse, which is a shame. The former Marine, Vietnam vet, NYC cop, and multiple-time martial arts champion starred in a series of action-packed films showcasing his dazzling technique, and BLACK DRAGON’S REVENGE makes for one helluva introduction.
No, BLACK DRAGON’S REVENGE is not a sequel to Bela Lugosi’s 1942 Monogram flick BLACK DRAGONS, but a continuation of the character Van Clief played in his film debut, 1974’s BLACK DRAGON. Here, Van Clief is sent by an Exploitation film producer from San Francisco to Hong Kong to investigate the death of Bruce Lee. Teaming up with his friend, fellow martial artist Charles “La Pantera” Bonet, they go against the odds battling bad guys as they search for the truth behind the mystery. The somewhat convoluted plotline really doesn’t matter, as it’s just an excuse for some amazingly dazzling action set pieces, and concludes with an astounding battle on the beach between Van Clief and the (heretofore unrevealed) head villain that’s an eye-popping tableau of violence.
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(Disclaimer: The full review may contain profanity.)