Dragons Forever: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao’s kung-fu classic Revisited

We revisited Jackie Chan’s underrated Kung-Fu Classic, Dragons Forever, which ended his collaborations with Sammy Hung & Yuen Biao.

Last Updated on November 21, 2023

In the mid-eighties, Jackie Chan was the biggest star in Asia. After failing to break out like Bruce Lee in the North American market, he focused on Asia, with his film Police Story making him one of the biggest box office draws of his day. At the same time, Chan was frequently working with two other action stars, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, with whom he had been raised at the brutal Peking Opera School. Their movies, Project A and Wheels on Meals, where big hits, but 1988’s Dragons Forever was the breaking point for their relationship, with them never again headlining a film together. What happened?

Part of it may have been jealousy and a heavy dose of ego. At the time, Chan was the biggest star to emerge from Hong Kong since Bruce Lee. While the late seventies and early eighties were good for him, leaving to a string of popular hits, 1985’s Police Story brought Chan into the contemporary world and became a smash. By contrast, while successful in his own right with two action masterpieces under his belt (Shanghai Express and Eastern Condors), the portly Sammo Hung might have resented his “little brother” eclipsing him, something that Chan likely never let him forget. Meanwhile, despite being the most physically gifted of the trio, Yuen Biao never really broke out on his own. During the filming, egos flared, and when the film bombed in Hong Kong (but was a hit in Japan), the trio temporarily went their separate ways. We dig into Dragons Forever and how it cast Chan against type (as a sleazy lawyer) in this special episode of Reel Action, written, narrated and edited by E.J. Tangonan.

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.