Reviewed bytige-mercerVote: 8/10/10
I have to admit, I gave this film an 8 only because I think the 4.5 wasjust a tad bit low. I probably would have given it a 6.5 and the onlyreason it deserved that was the action and camera work.
This movies feel is pretty cheesy..But it is well shot and some of theaction scenes are pretty amazing. The bowling alley scene makes thewhole movie worth watching. It's truly a rare treat.
Michael Biehn has a true grit look to him and he does pretty well. Ifelt like he out-shined Joong-Hoon Park and their chemistry was notvery special. But to be fair, The writing seems like it would have beentough to work around for anyone....
After watching the film, I was glad that I had spent the time to sitthrough it and I'd watch it again right now. There really is someAwesome moments sprinkled throughout the film which makes it quitememorable.
Reviewed byLt_Coffey_182Vote: 8/10/10
American Dragons is an archetypal 'Buddy' police action film where themain character (Tony Luca Michael Biehn) is caught in the middle of agang war between the Mafia and the Yakuza whilst being lumbered with aKorean Detective (Joong-Hoon Park). Despite a totally unoriginal plot,American Dragons is a very good film and definitely has the edge overthe average 'Buddy' films that were so popular in the 90s.
What really sets this apart from other police films is the chemistrybetween the two main characters. Their bickering throughout the filmadds amusement and highlights how cultural differences can have aneffect on people's relationships. Luca's apparent racism at the startis not a sign of evil, but of misunderstanding and ignorance. Thepair's inevitable journey to becoming friends is done very well anddoes admirably to avoid becoming cliché. Rather than one charactersaving the other character's life, it is the stories they tell of theirpath to becoming a cop and what guided them being where they are thatleads them to discovering they have more in common than they firstimagined. This, of course, is only after they have a raging fight in aback alley which is broken up by a homeless man threatening to call thepolice!
For a direct to video film, the overall quality of the film is verygood. The stage lighting is consistent throughout and it is alwaysclear what is occurring on screen. The adrenaline pumping music is oneof the best aspects of the film and does a great job of putting theaudience on the edge of their seats, especially during actionsequences. The fight scenes in the film are also very good; there are acouple good martial arts fights and some great fighting by Biehn.
This is by no mean Michael Biehn's most challenging role, but hecertainly rises to the occasion and does very well in the moreemotionally demanding scenes, showing guilt and remorse veryeffectively in the scenes involving the murdered civilian. It is goodto see an actor have such fun with a role as Biehn does in this film.He certainly enjoys playing the tough, cynical cop who punches his wayto the truth. Whilst the chemistry between Biehn and Park was good,Joong-Hoon Park does appear to have some struggles coping with hisEnglish in this film which occasionally affects the delivery of hislines. Other than that, he performs competently in the film displayinggreat shock at American's lack of respect for policemen and is great inthe banter between Luca and his character (Kim). The rest of the castis a bit of a disappointment. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is almost wasted inthis role, an actor of his calibre should definitely have been givenmore screen time. The only other actor worthy of a mention is Don Starkwho is terrific as the clichéd mobster, Rocco.
What really lets this film down is the script. To be honest, it isabysmal and the script writer should really be ashamed of himself forforcing people to emit such rubbish. With a story that was lackinganything new, a good script was required for the film to gain any realcredibility and it is for this reason that film never got a theatricalrelease.
While definitely not a masterpiece and not as good as Lethal Weapon,American Dragons is a thoroughly entertaining piece which grips theaudience really tight and even adds some occasional touching moments.
Reviewed byComeuppance ReviewsVote: 7/10/10
American Dragons is a hugely underrated film that more people shoulddefinitely know about.
Biehn plays Tony Luca, an NYC detective working undercover trying totake down the Fiorino Mafia family. When some unfortunate events causethat investigation to "go sideways", he is transferred to another case,in the Chinatown area where there have been some murders. It seemssomeone is bumping off Yakuza gangsters and leaving a mysterious BlackLotus emblem. Enter Detective Kim (Park) from the Seoul policedepartment. He comes to America because he has a score to settle withthe evil Matsuyama (Tagawa, playing yet another gun-toting bad guy, seeDanger Zone ,1996). He teams up with Luca, who also has his own scoreto settle with amoral gangster Rocco (Stark). So it goes that, despitesome initial conflicts due to their different cultures, the twopugilistic cops must take down their respective enemies before a mobwar breaks out between the Mafia and the Yakuza.
American Dragons is stylish and artsy, yet dark and brooding. It has anengaging storyline, and despite the fact that it has some brutal,gritty violence, it also has some unexpected humor which leavenseverything out.
You really get your money's worth, as there are two personal vendettasthat must be settled, and two super-evil bad guys that must get theircomeuppance. Luckily, there are two heroes, in the form of Park andBiehn. Biehn gets some great lines and seems as intense as the movieitself. Try to imagine a better, more adult, mature version of Last toSurrender (1999). Also, if you can, try to imagine a MUCH betterversion of Massacre (1985). While 'Dragons shares some plot elementsfrom those two films, what's really interesting is the similarity itbears to Punisher: War Zone (2008), both in the style in which it isfilmed and the plot.
The cinematography truly is a double edged sword here, as it isinventive and stylish, but often the scenes are just too dark to see.It's almost funny how every bar, restaurant, police station or anywhereelse in the movie never turns its lights on. A lot of the time it lookslike they are talking in the dark. The station house resembles the onefrom the Law and Order franchises, and that adds to the "policeprocedural on steroids" feel and even the Captain of the Precinct isreminiscent of that show's Van Buren. But here they're clearly tryingto save money on electricity.
The whole movie is a of a much higher caliber than the usual actionjunk, and you can tell some thought went into everything, from therockin' soundtrack to the fact that even here there's a trainingsequence! This, and other clues tell me the filmmakers are action fansthemselves and know what they are doing. It's nice to know you're ingood hands when you watch a movie.
So remember, "So foul a sky clears not without a storm" and watchAmerican Dragons tonight - it's a cut above the rest.
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Murders in Seoul, Korea and in America pair two cops from each of the countries together to solve the crimes. The investigation leads to a gang war between the Mafia and the Yakuza, but one that may not be of either of their making. A shadowy assassin is killing the leaders and an Italian assassin may have his own agenda.