Kill a Dragon (1967)


(director: Michael Moore; screenwriter: George Schenck/William Marks; cinematographer: Emmanuel Rojas; editor: John F. Schreyer; music: Philip Springer; cast: Jack Palance (Rick Masters), Fernando Lamas (Nico Patrai), Aldo Ray (Vigo), Kam Tong (Win Lim), Don Knight (Ian), Hans Lee (Jimmie), Alizia Gur (Tisa), Judy Dan (Chunhyang), Young Yip Wang (Chang), Chung Kai (Tai), Wu Koo (Felipe); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal Klein; MGM; 1967)

“Dull and far-fetched actioner set in Hong Kong.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Second-tier director Michael Moore (“Mister Deathman”/”An Eye for an Eye”/”The Fastest Guitar Alive”), not the documentarian of note, does his usual middling best directing this dull and far-fetched actioner set in Hong Kong. It’s written by George Schenck and William Marks; it features a miscast Jack Palance playing the hero St. George character who slays a dragon, an overweight Aldo Ray who looks dopey running around in one sequence in drag and Fernando Lamas as an uninteresting villain with a constant smirk on his kisser. Palance should stick to playing villains, he doesn’t make it as a matinee idol; Lamas can only play smarmy romantic roles; and Ray should have a fork stuck in him because he’s all done. The story is for the birds and the action scenes look as if they were performed by senior citizens in a nursing home. But the photography of the locale is fine, as I enjoyed seeing all those junks lined up in the Hong Kong harbor.

Rick Masters (Jack Palance) is an American soldier of fortune who owns a salvage boat and likes to celebrate his birthday every few days in bed with the local Hong Kong prostitute Tisa (Alizia Gur). On one such occasion he’s visited by three elderly villagers, led by their pragmatic leader Win Lim (Kam Tong), from a nearby island, who tells Rick they need his help, as a cargo junk carrying a deadly load of nitroglycerin is beached on their island and according to the law of salvage they claim it as their own. The problem is that the ruthless local crime boss, Patrai (Fernando Lamas), wants the valuable cargo, worth over a million dollars, and gives the peaceful islanders three days to turn it over to him or else his goons will start killing everyone in their village. The poor islanders who could sure use the money, sneak off the island to hire Rick for a third of the profit to bring the cargo to market in Hong Kong. Rick hires tour guide Vigo (Aldo Ray) and a pair of con artist karate experts, Jimmie and the Brit Ian (Hans Lee, Don Knight), to help.

Rick outwits the unscrupulous Patrai and his army of thugs, and after much violence on the island penetrates the crime boss’s blockade and brings the cargo to Hong Kong for a happy birthday ending. There are many adventure films that are worse, but this one was bad enough for me. It also features the worst martial arts moves I’ve ever seen in a Hong Kong action pic, and is a must-see for those who follow karate and want to have a good laugh.