With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

DRAGONWOLF available today

Well Go USA
Directed by Raimund Huber
Thailand, 2013, 122 minutes
Blu-ray SLP: $29.98
DVD SLP: $24-98

Dragonwolf is a Thai martial arts film that comes out on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital today from Well Go USA. My review is based on watching the Blu-ray version, which was no mean feat. Not that it looked bad; no the video transfer on Blu-ray was top notch, as one has come to expect from Well Go. The problem was that the movie is terrible.

So, for those who might at all be inclined to think about buying Dragonwolf in any form, and who don't care to read further, let me just offer two words of advice: "Don't bother."

In fact I would have stopped watching sometime well before the film reached its one hour mark, but the good people at Well Go had provided me with the screener, and I felt it only proper to watch the entire movie for this review.

My first thought that Dragonwolf might be a turkey came before I even inserted the disc in my player. Raimund Huber, the director, has also made Bangkok Adrenaline (2009) and Kill 'em All (2012), both very mediocre films that I watched on Netflix Streaming. (I imagine that at some point Dragonwolf will be available there also. Streaming is the only way I can even remotely recommend viewing the film, unless you have some other no-extra-cost option available.)

Mozart (standing) about to confront a trio

The story concerns two friends, Mozart (Kazu Patrick Tang, who's had small rolls in such films as Ong Bak 2, BKO: Bangkok Knockout, and Chinese Zodiac) and Julius (Johan Kirsten, here in his film debut). They live in Devil's Cauldron, which is supposedly "the vice and bloodshed capital of the world" though there's no real evidence in the film that it's really all that exceptionally bad a place.

Mozart (a.k.a. "Mo") and Julius (a.k.a. "Dragon") work for Brutus, the head of the organization that controls Devil's Cauldron. They are his best "sweepers," effectively handling the toughest, dirtiest and most violent work he needs done.

The two, friends since childhood, are practically brothers. Unfortunately they meet a lovely young thing named Mary at a charity event. She and Julius become an item, but she lets Mozart know that she's interested in him.  Naturally this puts a "strain" (to put it mildly) on the guys' friendship.

The convoluted story unfolds using a great many flashback scenes, far to many as far as I'm concerned. The dialog tends to range between trite and stilted. For example, who really would say, "Had he told me the truth, I'd not have killed him"?

Julius seems uninterested in the sushi or the "platter" on which it's offered

As for the action, I'll grant that a few of the moves are okay. But must of the "combatants" come across like mediocre students who just managed to pass "Stuntman 101" at a community college. And far too often the camera angles reveal that the punches or kicks were never intended to come even remotely close to connecting.

On the positive side, such as it is, the film has some nice female breasts on view and most of the few comedic touches are actually decent. If Huber were to make a sexploitation action comedy, it just might be a decent watch. But there were neither enough tits & ass nor enough laughs in Dragonwolf to redeem it.

I usually don't notice film ratings at IMDB, but I happened to see that Dragonwolf currently has a dismal 3.4/10 rating from 203 users. That sounds like about what it deserves in my opinion.

AsianCineFest Rating: 1 out of 4 stars; poor. (Note: this overall rating is based on 1/2 star for the titties and another 1/2 star for the action.)