Heart of Dragon (龍的心 / Lóng Dé Xīn) is a 1985 Hong Kong live-action film directed by Sammo Hung with assistance from Yuen Biao for the action scenes and distributed by Golden Harvest and Fortune Star. The film stars Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Emily Chu and Mang Hoi.
“World-famous for their action and derring-do, old friends Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung teamed up for a film that shows there’s much more to them than brawling.
Jackie plays a good-hearted cop looking after his learning-disabled brother Danny, played by Sammo, but doesn’t always succeed in keeping him out of trouble. When Danny is taken as a hostage, his brother will risk everything – his career and even his life –-to rescue him, throwing it down as only Jackie Chan can.
Made the same year as Police Story, Heart of Dragon was a change of pace for the great action artists, giving them a chance to show of their acting chops as well as their stunt skills – even if they don’t ignore the latter! 88 Films are proud to present this UK Blu-ray premiere of a Hong Kong classic.”Plot Synopsis via 88 Films, April 2020
My knowledge of the Hong Kong film licensing business is very minimal but Heart of Dragon was one of many films that were brought over internationally over time, mostly due to Jackie Chan’s involvement since his popularity grew during the 80s and 90s. Heart of Dragon was among the films that featured Chan, Hung and Biao altogether, however Biao only acted as a stunt double for Chan for certain scenes.
Heart of Dragon was released internationally for theatrical and home video release, with Japan getting an extended version similarly to Dragons Forever. It was known in the English territories as ‘The First Mission’ and ‘Heart of the Dragon’ before eventually using its original proper name. In the UK, it was distributed by Video Programme Dists Ltd for VHS in 1987, MIA Video Entertainment Ltd on VHS in 1998, followed by Cine Asia and Hong Kong Legends on DVD in 2004, before eventually acquired by 88 Films for this special Blu-ray release.
88 Films focus on three different niches from the film industry; Italian films, horror films and also Chinese films, the latter of which has a sub-label called 88 Asia. The Jackie Chan films are not mentioned to be part of the 88 Asia brand on the packaging but they are mentioned when you load the disc for the first time. After releasing four Jackie Chan films in 2018 and an additional four in late 2019 to early 2020, 88 Films revealed two more titles from Fortune Star for the 2020 schedule; Sammo Hung’s Heart of Dragon and John Woo’s Heroes Shed No Tears.
First Edition Contents:
88 Films follows a trend similar to Arrow Video and Eureka Entertainment where they offer a first print edition that includes an o-card slipcase and a couple of physical extras to go with the package.
For Heart of Dragon, we have first print items made solely for this 88 Films release. The first print features a slipcover with really nice artwork done by R.P. “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien and a booklet written by James Oliver offers rare stills from the lobby and extra notes about the film.
The SRP is £24.99 and has a 3000 unit print run. As of September 2020, the first print run has sold out and thus newer copies no longer include the O-card slipcase, and booklet.
- Limited Edition O-Card slipcase featuring unique artwork by R.P. “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien
Distributor: 88 Films
Released: 20th April 2020
Heart of Dragon received a 2K restoration from the original 35mm negative, which means the quality of the transfer will be better than the previous releases in the past.
The audio options available feature the main Cantonese language with newly translated English subtitles as well as the English dub. The Blu-ray disc is Region B locked and the subtitles are unlockable during playback.
Much like Dragons Forever, Heart of Dragon is filled with many ways to watch the film. The original Hong Kong version (running at 91 minutes) includes the option to watch in Cantonese or the classic English dub, whereas the Japanese Extended Cut version (running at 99 minutes) has dozens of options; I’ll just quote what 88 Films said on their website because it’s insane how much detail went into them:
- Cantonese Japanese Soundtrack – “This is the audio from the original Shochiku Japanese theatrical cut of the film, in which ALL of the HK score/songs were replaced with a Japanese score and Jackie’s songs “China Blue” and “Tokyo Saturday Night”
- Cantonese Hong Kong Theatrical Soundtrack – “This track is essentially if you took the extended Japanese cut, but all of the music prior to the end credits is from the HK cut. Even the parking lot fight audio is taken from a rare source in which it doesn’t have the music from the Japanese cut.”
- Cantonese Hong Kong Theatrical Soundtrack with Japanese Soundtrack for parking lot fight scene – “Pretty much the same as the above option, but with the Japanese music cue for the parking lot fight.”
- Cantonese Hong Kong Theatrical Soundtrack with Japanese songs – “HK music score, but Jackie’s opening and ending songs.”
- Classic English Dub Hybrid with Cantonese for the extra Japanese scenes – “The only scenes that would revert to Cantonese would be the methadone clinic fight and the parking lot fight.”
|Audio||Hong Kong Theatrical Cut:|
Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono
English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono
Japanese Extended Cut:
Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono
Cantonese DTS 1.0 Mono
(Hong Kong soundtrack with Japanese songs)
English DTS 1.0 Mono
(with Cantonese for undubbed scenes)
|Video||1080p High Definition Native format|
1.85:1 aspect ratio
|Subtitles||Hong Kong Theatrical & Japanese Extended Cut:|
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- The First Mission – Making of Special
- The First Mission – Behind the Scenes (Originally used at a pre-release event screened at Shinjuku Shochiku in August 1985)
- Interview with Jackie Chan
- Interview with Rocky Lai
- Interviews with Sammo Hung
- Interview with Arthur Wong
- Hong Kong Trailer
- English “Raging Force” Trailer
- Japanese Theatrical Trailer
- Japanese Teasers
- Fortune Star Trailer
In addition, here’s a round-up look at Crime Story, Dragons Forever, Heart of Dragon, Miracles and The Protector together.
Heart of Dragon is available to own on Blu-ray from 88 Films for the United Kingdom & Ireland. The first print edition has sold out but a regular standard edition Blu-ray is available to order on 88 Films’ official website and on Amazon UK.