The Dragon Tamers


"...features real and traditional tae kwon do (NOT that generic, watered-down Americanized olympic crap!)"

- Goldenfist

The Dragon Tamers (1975)

AKA: The Belles of Tae Kwon Do

Literally: A Gathering of Tae Kwon Do Heroines, Female Trample Fist Crowd Hero Meeting

Director: John Woo

Writer: John Woo

Producer: Raymond Chow

Cast: Ji Han Jae, James Tien, Carter Wong, Chin Chang-chu, Yang Wei, Ryoko Ina, Keiko hara

Running Time: 107 min.

Plot: Well there really isn't much of a plot in John Woo's 2nd film as director. It has your usual 70's kung fu movie plot with evil karate villains. Carter Wong is a kung fu student who travels to Korea to challenge the tae kwon do champion(Ji Han Jae). While there, he is trained by master Pa Mak and befriends a tae kwon do instructor(James Tien-the star of this film). Lucky James has a group of girl students on his jock and is hitting one of them! Another girl has a crush on him. There's much more with that situation. Now, THE BAD GUYS! Nothing more than evil karate experts (including evil girl fighters) who want to take over the martial arts schools and led by some evil woman and brother(Yang Wei). And I will let you see the movie, so I won't spoil it!


ALVIN GEORGE'S REVIEW: Long before he was a master of "heroic bloodshed" gangster films, John Woo was just another young director struggling to make it in the Hong Kong film industry. The chop-socky thriller known as The Dragon Tamers was one of his first movies. The version I saw has the expected bad English dubbing and the usual cheesy HK sound effects--not to mention an all-too-familiar martial-arts plot. However, the plot's not the important thing. The action is very well done. Important to the movie's plot is taekwondo, a Korean martial art. I guess the movie was also filmed on location in Korea because that's where the hero goes. A number of HK films of the '70s were filmed in Korea anyhow. (Just read Jackie Chan's autobiography, which is entitled I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action.) A stunt choreographer for this movie is (surprise!) Jackie Chan. (Well, at least it says so in Chan's aforementioned autobiography.) James Tien's character teaches taekwondo to female students who are often seen wearing tracksuits. (Um, were at least some of those tracksuits of the same kind as the one Jimmy Wang Yu wore in The Man from Hong Kong?) One of those students has a big crush on a Chinese guy (Carter Wong) who has come to Korea to study taekwondo. Of course, there are bad people who need to be dealt with.


GOLDENFIST'S REVIEW: I like this movie! People usually think of those gangster movies when they hear or think the name John Woo. This movie may not be an Oscar winning one, but this is one of Carter Wong's better acting jobs, as well as James Tien being the STAR of the show (a rare occasion. He was also the star of 1971's THE CHASE-a pre Big Boss sword movie). The fights are not Jet Li or wire enhanced, but features real and traditional tae kwon do (NOT that generic, watered-down Americanized olympic crap!) This is the real stuff. The classes reminded my dad of how his classes were like. Bottom line, If you want to see a good and hard-as-hell to kind kung fu movie (that showcases fine Korean martial arts) check this one out.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Ji Han Jae and James Tien have a re-match (after the G.O.D. scenes). There is also a good fight with Ji and Carter Wong.