Dragon Fury (1995)

Dragon Fury

Written and Directed by David Heavener

“Welcome to Motel 6. Do you have a reservation… TO DIE?”

So the Apocalypse happened back in 1999. I know, you probably missed it; I know I did. But it happened, and Los Angeles split from the continent by the fault line and was hit by a plague. By some strange voodoo, this resulted in the remnants of the city becoming entrenched in a mix of medieval pageantry and ninja violence.

Well, if any post-apocalyptic city is going to devolve into a bad action movie, they’re right, L.A. would be the place.

Mason (Robert Chapin) – Also known as ‘Dragon’, he saw his wife and child get brutally murdered by the evil Fullock. Cult leader Vestor also tried to control him, but Dragon was too strong! He’s normally on the run in the Post-Apocalypse until he’s tasked with traveling back in time to grab the vaccine that will stop the plague two days before the quake. Got all that?

Also, his hair is really goofy. I mean, look at that.

Milton (Chuck Loch) – Despite the fact that the notion of light bulbs continues to elude him, this chap invented a time machine! Unfortunately, his time machine is incompatible with shirts for some reason. Look, he invented time travel, he’s allowed some wiggle room.
Regina (Chona Jason) – Mason’s girlfriend. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still upset after his wife died and all, but this movie needs nudity, dammit, and someone has to provide.
Vestor (Richard Lynch) – Self proclaimed “Chief Medical Dictator”, he runs around future L.A. like he owns the place. He also tries to indoctrinate various people into his cults. He’s the bad guy here, and spends most of the film stuck in the post-apocalypse glowering like few other character actors can.
Dr. Ruth (Deborah Stambler) – The doctor who takes care of Mason when he arrives back in the hoary days of 1999. She thinks his story of traveling through time is amusing, until the shirtless assassins show up and start karate chopping shit.
Fullock (T.J. Storm) – Look, I’m not saying he’s technically playing the Terminator, but he wanders around shirtless, is practically unstoppable, doesn’t say anything, and by the end has a shotgun that he runs amuck with.

But he also knows karate. So he’s got that going for him.

Mason travels back in time to find the vaccine for the plague, and ends up with temporary amnesia. Dr. Ruth helps him recover his memory just in time for Regina to show up and make him this offer:

“I’ll answer all of your questions after we have sex.”

Hard to argue with that.

“My shirt gives me my power!”

The plot, as convoluted as it is, is basically a clothes hanger for the many action scenes and gratuitous nudity. Kicks, flips, and some remarkably goofy sword fights are aplenty here. Mason and Fullock spend almost as much time showing off with their weapons as they do using them.

The film operates on a special version of logic that no matter how far you are away from someone, if they kick at you, you will fall.  All L.A. street gangs have an instinctive knowledge of really slow moving karate. Security guards will let anyone through as long as they say they’re one of the scientist’s friends or offering ice cream.

It’s gloriously ridiculous but the movie doesn’t seem to think so. There’s a distinct lack of irony in proceedings, as well as a desire to show off all of the ugliest and silliest parts of the early 90’s.


The fashion sense is also impressive. The post-apocalypse relies a lot on chokers and shirts either wide open or missing altogether. Milton wears one impressive number that seems to come straight from a discarded piece of shag carpeting.

Dragon Fury has an issue with momentum, as much of the middle of the movie seems to follow characters walking around and looking upset. There’s one particular fight with a Chinese gang that just kind of happens and ends after the action choreographer picks up another paycheck. Every minute is aching to push this movie past the 80 minute mark, and it doesn’t even make that.

Despite this and a fair amount of lame acting, when the action hits, Dragon Fury is cheesy fun.

Rating: 5/10 (A gag so bad it becomes good again, Christ analogies for no reason, the glasses do nothing, the world’s worst security guard, totally pinned behind that desk)

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