Heart of the Dragon (1985)
The chubby Sammo Hung Kam-Bo co-directed and
co-starred as the intellectually impaired Dodo in this Hong Kong martial
arts film with heart from the mid 1980s. Jackie Chan is Ted/Tat Fung, a
SWAT-type squad member who is recruited into the Hong Kong police
department to fight a big crime boss. His dream is to sail the world,
but heís been caring for his brother since they were orphaned.
He comes close to realising his dream by organising a
commercial ship to sail on and finds care for his brother with some
neighbours. In his quest for freedom and fulfilment of ambition, he gets
so carried away, he does not see that his brother cannot take care of
Dodo plays with the neighbourhood boys, whose
intellectual age approximates his. They sometimes take advantage of
himólike in the restaurant scene, or when one kid gets him to pretend to
be his father and to parrot out the same response to the concerned
teacher. At play, he stumbles onto a big-time jewellery heist and gets
chased by the baddies. His brother Tat is the good guy charged with
finding the baddies!
The playful, endearing script shines through. None of
the performances is over-wrought, nor is there any sugary sickliness
about the emotions the characters have. There is a surprising honesty
and realism to the reality of living with and caring for someone with a
disability. It is a film from the pre-PC era and from an Asian country
so there is no euphe-mystication, thank goodness! The articulate grasp
of empathy is my favourite aspect of Heart of the Dragon.
But thatís getting way too Ďdeep and meaningfulí!
Letís not forget what this film and its genre are. Thereís plenty of
funky kung fu moves and shooting, enough cheesy dialogue to make a
risotto. So all up itís an enjoyable film with a very appropriate title!
I enjoyed it even though this kind of movie isnít normally my thing.