Dragon Hunt (1990)

 Dragon Hunt

Film review by: Witney Seibold

 A pair of Canadian, kung-fu expert, identical twins, Martin and Michael McNamara, once tried to break into the biz with a 1986 film called “Twin Dragon Encounter.” I have not seen “Twin Dragon Encounter,” but I did see the follow-up film “Dragon Hunt” made in 1990 by director Charles Wiener. It’s not much of a wonder why they didn’t make a bigger splash, as “Dragon Hunt” is one of those films that is so inept, so strange, so badly written, and incompetently directed that it becomes somewhat glorious. It was made in 1990, but looks like it could have been made in the mid 1970s (the presence of ninjas and mohawks notwithstanding).

The story is pretty basic; it’s pretty much “The Most Dangerous Game.” Martin and Michael McNamara (playing themselves), are kidnapped by the wicked Jake (B. Bob), the conquered villain from the last film, now sans one hand. They are let loose on an island, and are hunted for sport/revenge by a gathered group of thugs, including a hillbilly trapper (Curtis Bush), a wicked dog trailer (his dog looks like a big cuddly sheep), and an army of ninjas. Oh, and a master pirate ninja. These are some of the oddest looking thugs I’ve seen. Jake has a big fluffy blonde mohawk and a leather jacket, and barks odd orders in between singing ditties to himself. He forgets the lyrics to “Rock-a-Bye Baby” at one point, and just hums them. The hillbilly trapper wears overalls, and looks a lot like Mike Shank from “American Movie.” The ninjas, we are informed, cannot fight at night (???), and the master ninja wears a pirate emblem on his forehead. There’s also a pair of “comely” villainesses played by Sheryl Foster and Heidi Romano, one of who is secretly a reporter (?), and the other is secretly addicted to cocaine. Jake eventually locks them in a cage.

Our heroes (real-life kung-fu instructors) have thick, dorky Tom Selleck-style mustaches, and construct booby traps out of branches and rope. Jake is awfully generous to these two, as, not only does he allow them to hide and to defend themselves, but also allows each of his thugs to hunt them one at a time, letting the brothers kill them off in a timely fashion.

This film is enjoyably incompetent. The fights are poorly edited and unclear. The acting ranges from flat to WTF? There is a prologue with a hijacked yacht which never really comes into play in the film proper. When someone is shot at it’s always next to a lake or some other body of water, making sure that the squibs can be clearly seen. Eventually, the twins think to steal Jake’s money, and Jake spends a lot of time pursuing them, and then fleeing them, on his knees for some reason.

This is not really a film that can be reviewed in a conventional sense, as to do so would just be a litany of all it’s surreal flaws and filmic inconsistencies. It’s a lost “classic,” a bad movie gem, only available on VHS, that is endlessly entertaining. As has been pointed out before, sometimes the earnestness of an amateur filmmaker can be far more entertaining than the film they made, thanks to the external narrative gleaned by the audience. The McNamara bros. have that amateur’s earnestness. Your enjoyment of “Dragon Hunt” will depend on how much you can relate to the filmmakers’ earnestness.

Published in: on June 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. A definite guilty pleasure in my eyes. I own a Greek-imported DVD of this flick. I so wanted to get the VHS, but it was pretty hard to find and the last copy that did pop up had its box all carved up to fit a plastic case and was going up for $50. I ultimately had to settle with the Greek-imported DVD since ’cause I told myself that if I didn’t get that, I’d probably never get it at all. Anyway, I’m rambling here, but all that aside, great flick.

    Meanwhile, DVDs of Dragon Hunt and Twin Dragon Encounter are now available via the Twin Dragons’ website.


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