Inferno Films presents
Dragon and the Hawk (2001)
"You have no idea who you're dealing with."- Therion (Trygve Lode)
Stars: Barbara Gehring, Julian Jung Lee
Other Stars: Trygve Lode, Ken Witt
Director: Mark Steven Grove
MPAA Rating: R for some violence and language
Run Time: 01h:25m:49s
Release Date: 2001-12-11
Genre: martial arts
DVD ReviewThere is a lot of inherent, low-budget silliness in Mark Steven Grove's martial arts film Dragon And The Hawk, but its strength lies not only in the nearly constant fight sequences (if that's your bag, man), but most notably in the low-key natural charm of Julian Jung Lee, who plays Dragon Pak. Lee is a Korean Tae Kwon Do master, and his fight scenes, while not on the par of Bruce Lee, have a real street feel to them, and they look very natural and realistic. The movie itself is flawed, and at times feels like a generic cop show, but Lee is quite fun to watch.The plot is strictly by the (badly written) book, when the persistent Dragon arrives in the U.S. to look for his missing sister. Before he's even had time to get to his hotel he is forced to do battle with a group of street thugs, and he kicks and chops without even breaking a sweat. In a convenient movie plot wormhole, a series of coincidences allow Dragon to somehow team up with brassy cop Lt. Dana "Hawk" Hawkins (Barbara Gehring), and of course give the film it's catchy title at the same time.The villain here is the very evil Therion (Trygve Lode), the leader of The Order, who is masterminding the manufacture and distribution of a new super-drug that controls and brainwashes all those who use it, and according to one character it could "shift the balance of power." Therion is a long-haired muscle-bound character, and speaks in an almost laughably slow monotone that I think is meant to instill a feeling of dread. It just made me snicker. Of course I wouldn't chuckle to his face, because this guy is really ripped. To further reinforce the fact that Therion is a villain, he is surrounded by a crew of henchpeople, including a leather-clad chickie with razor blades attached to her boots. When she kicks, look out.Julian Jung Lee is involved in some decent fight sequences in Dragon And The Hawk, but I don't want to overlook Barbara Gehring, either. While not the martial arts master that Lee is, Gehring holds her own during the battles, and she high kicks believably well. She is forced to utter some cringe-inducing bad dialogue, but when her and Lee start kicking the film comes alive, be it ever so briefly.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: A 1.33:1 full-frame transfer from Inferno, and it is amazingly non-descript. It's not horrible by any means, in fact the color field remains surprisingly consistent and natural, and is only marred by occasionally muddy black levels. A bit of grain here and there, as well. There isn't really anything wrong with the image transfer here, it's just not extreme one way or the other.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Here's a pleasant surprise that really made my day. The 5.1 Dolby Digital transfer is actually very, very good, especially when you consider the apparent budget constraints of the film. The Guy Bianchini score (which is darn good on it's own, I might add) is mixed well, and is featured prominently across the rear channels, along with a handful of well-placed action cues that fill out the sound field dramatically. Dialogue is very clean, and directional imaging is noticeable, but not over done. Very nice, overall.A 2.0 English track is also provided, but significantly lacks the dynamic range and depth of the impressive and recommended 5.1 mix.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 TV Spots/Teasers
Extras Review: Inferno came up a little thin on the extras, especially when it might have been advantageous to hype Julian Jung Lee a bit more to the martial arts crowd that this film was built for. A theatrical trailer, pair of TV spots, 11 chapters (!) and a music video (for the song Now You're Mine! (Sei Meine!)) make up the supplementals list. The insert card is designed to look like the police folder of movie baddie Therion.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsIf it weren't for the fight sequences there wouldn't be much here to chit-chat about. Korean Tae Kwon Do king Julian Jung Lee does his thing well, but is stuck in a relatively lifeless chop-socky crime drama. If you're a fan of martial arts, you will probably get a kick out this.
Rich Rosell 2002-02-01