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Directed by: Issac Florentine
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Valerie Chow and Gary Hudson
At some time in the distant past, or perhaps the remote future, the
dastardly General Ruechang (Tagawa) rules the land. His dictator-like
tactics have begun to stir a popular revolt. But before Ruechang can
have total authority, he intends to marry Princess Halo (Chow). Halo
doesn’t want to be anywhere near him, so in her off time she puts on a
mask and competes in stickfighting matches with the burly guys of the
local village. One of those guys is Warchild (Lundgren), a member of
Ruechang’s retinue. When the Princess runs away, Warchild is assigned to
find her and bring her back. Naturally, they fall in love and begin to
fight against Ruechang’s evil empire.
There’s a lot to like
about Bridge of Dragons. It’s a throwback to the classic
post-apocalyptic films we all love from the 80’s. But it has the
well-choreographed fights and constant violent action that director
Isaac Florentine is known for. Besides the VHS-era post-nuke flicks, a
diverse array of influences make up the style of Bridge of Dragons: For
one, it’s hard to ignore the influence of the video game Street Fighter.
Ruechang is M. Bison, Warchild is Guile and Princess Halo is Chun Li.
Then we have the relationship between Halo and her governess, Lily
(Kendall). Any student of 9th grade English can see this was highly
influenced by Romeo and Juliet. And towards the end there’s a scene
reminiscent of The Graduate (1967).
So, to recap, cross Italian
post-apocalyptic thrillers, Street Fighter, Shakespeare, and The
Graduate, set it in a fairy-tale-like land and load it up with action
and stunts and Dolph
Lundgren, and there you have it. Does this sound weird? Well, it is
somewhat odd, but it’s entertaining and not boring. So that’s important.
Tagawa returns as yet another
baddie, facing off against Lundgren once again (he was also the
antagonist of Showdown in Little Tokyo, 1991). You gotta love his “666” logo
on his buildings and vehicles. But this time he, and all the other
characters, are in a more tongue-in-cheek world, with really wacky sound
effects and some silly humor. Bridge of Dragons recalls Raiders of the Sun (1992), in the fact that the hero and the girl are on the run, they fight
the baddies together, it’s post-apocalyptic, or at least futuristic, and
the element of rebels and revolution is introduced amongst all the
shooting and blow-ups. One is the Richard Norton take, the other the
Dolph Lundgren take on a similar situation.
Like the film of the
aforementioned Street Fighter (1994), it all ends in a freeze frame. But don’t
you think Dolph makes a better Guile than Van Damme? Street Fighter
aside, Bridge of Dragons is classic late-90’s Lundgren with a few
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett