Image Entertainment // 2006 // 866 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // January 22nd, 2010
Without balance, the world teeters on the brink.
An animated series that focuses on powerful beings warring against each other using butt-kicking martial arts and super heroic powers. Sounds pretty cool, right?
When a legendary protector known as the Golden Dragon passes on, his mantle is passed down to the next generation. A young martial arts student named Ang Leung is chosen by the fates to become the new Golden Dragon, turning his jealous sister to the dark side, becoming his enemy. Ang fights not only his sister, but the other forces of evil who plan to steal the powers of temple guardians.
This DVD release of Legend of the Dragon includes all 39 episodes of the series on four discs as follows:
* "Trial by Fire, Part 1"
* "Trial by Fire, Part 2"
* "Eye of the Tiger"
* "Hero Worship"
* "Terror Unfirma"
* "Master of Sarcasm"
* "Temple of Changes"
* "Mind Bender"
* "Chow Chow"
* "Monkey Mission"
* "The Emperor of the Darkest Yin"
* "The Last Dragon"
* "Spy Hard"
* "Sister Sister"
* "Associating With Vermin"
* "Shell Game"
* "Thief of Power"
* "Horse Play"
* "It's Always Darkest Before Xuan"
* "Empower the Darkest Ling"
* "Hair of the Dog"
* "X-Games Guardians"
* "Lost and Found"
* "Monkey See Monkey Do"
* "Double Dragon"
* "The Temple of the Shadow Dragon, Part 1"
* "The Temple of the Shadow Dragon, Part 2"
* "Enter the Wolf"
* "Cats and Dogs and Dragons"
* "Shadow Tiger Take Two"
* "A Horse of a Different Color"
* "Rat Attack"
* "Friend or Foe"
* "The Golden Baby-Sitter Blues"
* "Gone Shadow Ape"
* "It's a Dog-Eat-Wolf-World"
* "Heart of the Dragon"
Let me set the stage for you: bad guys have an evil plan, good guys stop the plan while cracking weak jokes, bad guys run away only to come back again in the next episode. Once you have that down, you've essentially got the hang of most episodes of the BKN animated series Legend of the Dragon. You could argue that any work of fiction is made up of centuries-old archetypes, so it's not surprising that stories begin to seem similar and familiar. Granted, first-time viewers wouldn't have seen more than one episode of Legend of the Dragon at a time, but it doesn't speak well that after watching more than a handful of episodes in a row, the formula gets tired and it starts being more of the same old stuff.
Fortunately, Legend of the Dragon isn't all bad. The idea that each sign of the Chinese zodiac is represented by a sacred temple and a temple guardian with armband-enabled powers is cool. It's also cool that series' hero Ang Leung can change into a ponytailed macho martial arts master, just by uttering the words "Power of the Dragon!" The symbolism nearly hits you in the face, but it's also interesting that Ang and his twin sister Ling fight for the good and evil side, essentially forming the yin and yang concept of Chinese philosophy, in conflict with each other, but at the same time creating a sense of balance.
Voice acting and story are the cornerstones of any good animated series. Legend of the Dragon has its moments here and there, but for the most part, the voice acting is weak and the writing deteriorates into corny comedy and cheese ball lines like "Oooo, someone got up on the wrong side of the floor this morning!" Most adults will likely feel a burning need to pop some aspirin after just one or two episodes, let alone the full series. I'll be the first to confess that I'm still a kid at heart and love watching episodes of older animated series like Thundarr the Barbarian, Blackstar, and Flash Gordon. Let's face it, companies like Ruby-Spears and Hanna-Barbera knew what they were doing with animated action series in the '80s. Unfortunately, Legend of the Dragon simply doesn't hold a candle to the classics.
While the character designs in Legend of the Dragon are cool enough, they don't translate well when executed in the relatively rushed-looking, low-budget animation style that comes across in most of the episodes. The full screen video presentation is noticeably soft throughout the series and while the contrast is passable, the colors aren't as punchy as more recent animated releases.
For parents who are looking for a somewhat slip-shod production, inconsistent voice acting, and thin plots to entertain their children, then Legend of the Dragon will likely fit the bill. For anyone who has higher standards for their animated content or fond memories of classic animated series from their own childhood, you'd be better spending your time sharing those with your kids and giving this series and set a pass.
Legend of the Dragon is guilty of being one of the weaker animated
series this reviewer has ever seen.
Review content copyright © 2010 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 866 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site