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Legacy of Rage Reviews

A poor script is (barely) surmounted by good direction and a capable lead actor--Brandon Lee, in his only Hong Kong film. Michael (Michael Wong), son of a Hong Kong mob kingpin, lusts after May (Regina Kent), who is engaged to Michael's best friend Brandon (Brandon Lee). Killing several birds with one bullet, Michael assassinates the cop who's been blackmailing his father, and frames Brandon for the hit. With Brandon imprisoned, Michael tries to rape May, who escapes and flees with Brandon's unborn child. Eight years pass. Brandon is released and tries to put the past behind him, but May is now married and her husband informs Brandon that she and the child have been kidnapped by Michael. Brandon, with the aid of former prison-mate Four Eyes (Mang Hoi), assaults Michael's home, wipes out his guards, and kills Michael. A savaged May dies in his arms and he becomes guardian to their child. LEGACY OF RAGE's main asset is Lee, who is indeed charismatic and convincing as a phenomenally stupid chump who packs a mean punch. In an early scene apparently written solely to show how stupid the rest of the film would be, a mother boards a bus and oops, forgets her child. Brandon snatches up the bawling kid and hightails it after the bus, sprinting through traffic to a rockin' dance beat. Lee's co-star, Michael Wong (whose acting skills are on par with your average surfboard), is a fellow Amerasian, and US-educated director Ronny Yu (BRIDE OF CHUCKY) was brought in by D&B owner Dickson Poon to direct the English-speaking stars. Poon had signed Lee to a limited contract and time was running out; a script was cobbled together in two weeks and the film shot in an additional three. Originally released in 1986, the film saw US home video release in 1998 in both dubbed and subtitled versions (with some anglicized credits). The rushed screenplay is a major drawback and the hand-to-hand fights are laughably weak, but Yu's direction is involving, the production values high, and Brandon Lee commands attention in a performance that netted him a nomination as Best New Artist at the sixth annual Hong Kong Film Awards. Plus when the big action finale finally rolls around, the John Woo-inspired gunplay is genuinely exciting. (Violence, sexual situations, profanity.)