Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Hsi Chang, Li san jiao wei zhen di yu men (The Dragon Lives Again) (1977)

Your Daily Dracula – Hsi Chang, Li san jiao wei zhen di yu men (The Dragon Lives Again) (1977)

By far the oddest of the cycle of posthumous Bruce Lee cash-ins of the late 1970s (The Clones of Bruce Lee, etc), this casts Bruce Leong (Siu-Lung Leung) as Bruce Lee – explaining that death has a way of changing people so they don’t look like themselves – and has him turn up in afterlife populated by fictional characters (probably not in homage to John Kendrick Bangs’ A Houseboat on the Styx, but you never know).  Dedicated to ‘the millions who love Bruce Lee’, it oddly has the hero himself express sorrow for his infidelities while there’s much talk in Hell about the size of his dick (it’s actually his nunchucks which make his sheeted corpse look as if it has a mighty erection).  But there’s little time for reflection in this corner of wherever legends go when they die.

Limbo is ruled by a weak-ish ‘king’ (Ching Tang) – listed as ‘Hades Judge Pao’ in some sources — who is being plotted against by – get this! – the Godfather (Shin Il Lung), James Bond (Alexander Grand), the Man With No Name (Kah Wah), the Exorcist (Fong Yau), Zatoichi (Wong Kar Hung) and Emmanuelle (Jenny) … all of whom see newly-arrived Bruce as a threat who must be battered into submission.  Among the friends Lee makes in the afterlife are the One-Armed Swordsman (Chang Li), Caine from Kung Fu (a role David Carradine snatched from Lee) and Popeye the Sailor Man (Eric Tsang).

At one point, the baddies toss Dracula (Hsi Chang) and some zombies (dressed like the Turkish comic book character Killing) at Lee, who wears his Kato outfit for the occasion and takes them out easily.  The climax, however, pits the good guys against poorly-wrapped mummies in a desert skirmish.  Oh, the king of the afterlife turns out to be a feckless wimpo too, but all those legendary types still need to be pummelled.   The off-model versions of classic characters are particularly strange – a Chinese actor plays David Carradine playing a Chinese character, this Emmanuelle seems to be a brunette Marilyn Monroe, the Exorcist and the Godfather are both slim sharp-dressed Asian guys with martial arts skills, and James Bond is an outright villain with a perm (even George Lazenby must have passed on this).

Production values are low, the fights are scrappy, costuming is fancy dress party level, and Chi Lo – who also co-wrote with Shek Ke and Wei Liang – directs clumsily.  But this keeps coming up with wild ideas that would be entertaining if only the film even aspired to any kind of quality – where else could you find the Godfather plotting to overthrow a King of Hell by having Emmanuelle have sex with him until his heart gives out (the business of dying again after being dead already is murky) or Jackie Chan’s future screen sidekick Eric Tsang as a shaven-headed Asian Popeye scarfing down spinach and battering baddies to a needle-drop of the ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’ theme?  But where are Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan?


One thought on “Your Daily Dracula – Hsi Chang, Li san jiao wei zhen di yu men (The Dragon Lives Again) (1977)

  1. The Exorcist is played by Fong Yau – http://hkmdb.com/db/people/view.mhtml?id=3938&display_set=eng

    Posted by Killer Meteor | May 6, 2021, 1:51 pm

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