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Film / Heart of Dragon

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What's this, a nerve-wrecking heartfelt drama between Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung? Oh wait...

"It's like they never sat down and had a meeting about whether they were making a slapstick kung fu comedy or a heartfelt Best Picture nominee."

Heart of Dragon is a 1985 Martial Arts Movie masquerading as a drama, directed by and starring Sammo Hung, and also starring Jackie Chan and Lam Ching-ying.

Tat Fung (Jackie Chan) is a police hotshot with a successful career, a supporting girlfriend, a band of best friends in the force, including his partner and second-in-command Brother Yan (Mang Hoi), but there's a problem... Tat also has an autistic big brother, Dodo (Sammo Hung) whom he had to take care of all by himself after their parents' passing. His requirements to raise his autistic brother make him unable to pursue his dreams as a sailor, and subsequently drags his friends into the same mess when Dodo becomes the witness to a drug deal.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adult Child: Sammo Hung’s character, the autistic Dodo.
  • Apathetic Teacher: The private tutor hired by Tat to home-school Dodo. He’s all smiling and cheerful when Tat is around, but once Tat is gone he starts scolding Dodo for not being able to recite simple English words and flat-out tells the autistic man that he’s taking this job for gambling money. He’s in the middle of his rant when Tat suddenly comes back, having forgotten to take his keys, and caught the teacher in his act.
  • Badass Crew: Tat and his police force partners, including Brother Yan (Mang Hoi).
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Tat, Dodo’s brother, who spends most of his screen time babysitting his big, autistic brother and getting into all sorts of trouble because of Dodo’s actions.
  • Baths Are Fun: Dodo certainly thinks so. Unlike most examples where the trope subjects are kids though, here we’re talking about an autistic adult man in his 30s…
  • Broken Tears: Tat, after finding out Dodo had run off after the day he snapped at Dodo and end up being ridiculed in a restaurant while searching for a job.
  • A Boy and His X: A bunch of schoolkids and their intellectually disabled, autistic, gigantic adult friend.
  • Celebrity Paradox: There is a Bruce Lee poster on the wall in one scene. Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and James Tien all starred alongside him.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When a bunch of kids whom are Dodo's buddies starts talking about what their favorite food are…
    Child 1: "What about you? What do you like? "
    Child 2: "I… I like my mom! "
    Child 1: "We’re talking about food, you idiot!"
    Child 2: "But… my mom is a great cook! "
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Tat is this to Dodo, justified that they are brothers.
  • Crowbar Combatant: One of the weapons Tat gets his hand upon in the construction site battle is a crowbar.
  • Dine and Dash: Early in the movie, Dodo is dragged into an expensive restaurant by a bunch of neighbourhood kids, with Dodo posing as their dad, only to find out after eating that the food is much more expensive than they can afford. The children, being a bunch of Plug 'n' Play Friends, then leave one at a time (each with a flimsy excuse that they "need to do their homework" or "walk the dog") until Dodo is alone and left at mercy of the pissed-off manager.
  • Disappeared Dad: One of Dodo's friends said his father was a sailor who left him and his mother years ago, never to return. This causes Dodo to innocently suspect his brother Tat is bailing on him as result of Tat’s promotion in the police force, resulting in a schism between the brothers leading to their Third-Act Misunderstanding.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The movie opens with a groups of mobsters (one which is Jackie Chan!) being pursued by a SWAT team, where Chan quickly but stealthily takes out several members of the police force, including hijacking a machine gun to kill half a dozen officers, and snapping one of their necks. Then suddenly the Police Superintendent blows his whistle, signalling the training exercise is over, and the "dead" SWAT officers promptly gets up.
  • False Friend: The neighbourhood kids who befriends Dodo.
  • Gentle Giant: Dodo, who’s played by the physically huge and imposing Sammo Hung, but is autistic, intellectually disabled and wouldn’t even hurt a fly.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Tat, finally crossing his Rage Breaking Point and delivering a slap to Dodo for throwing a tantrum.
    Tat: "Do you think I choose this life? If I wanted to abandon you, I would've abandoned you years ago! Why do you think I'm still here by your side, you retard?"
  • Groin Attack: The Jerkass diner owner gets a fist in the nethers from Brother Yan, after taking advantage of Dodo and tricking him to act like an animal in public for the sake of being a dick. Talk about instant karma
  • Harmless Freezing: After the restaurant scene, Dodo is shown completely pale from being locked in a freezer for an undisclosed amount of time, but completely unscathed.
  • Holding Hands: A rare male-and-male example between Tat and Dodo, but only because Tat is the Parental Substitute and making sure his autistic brother doesn’t end up straying away by himself. (Seen in above image)
  • Honorary Uncle: Brother Yan (played by Mang Hoi), a close friend of Tat in the police force, who ends up looking after Dodo in more than one scene.
  • Improvised Weapon: In typical Jackie Chan manner, Tat gets to fight off several machete-wielding mooks with a construction site helmet as weapon.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Dodo tends to get into these sometimes, due to his autism. He ends up pissing off people around him earning himself a beating.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: During the restaurant scene, Dodo accidentally locks himself in the freezer room while being chased by restaurant staff. When Tat comes to bail him out he had to get in through the Air-Vent Passageway.
  • Kids Are Cruel: And how! Dodo’s "friends" (*cough*) are all at kindergarten age, and more than once they used their intellectually disabled adult friend to their advantage, such as using Dodo to con their way into getting a free meal or having Dodo pretend to be their parent, and acting all chummy with Dodo a few days later despite what they’ve done. It doesn’t help that the autistic Dodo doesn’t even know *how* to hold a grudge.
  • The Lancer: Brother Yan (played by Mang Hoi), who acts as Tat's number two.
  • Leave No Survivors: Invoked, when Dodo and his friends are playing hide-and-seek, they accidentally witnessed a group of drug dealers hiding their stuff in a park. They immediately split when the drug dealers took notice, and later made a vow of silence to never tell anyone of what they saw. Naturally this doesn’t end well for Tat.
  • Literal-Minded: Dodo takes things people said to him literally. When trying to apply for a job as a diner, the diner owner’s wife asks if Dodo knows how to wait on tables. Dodo said yes, and responds by climbing up a nearby table and says he’s waiting. Justified since he’s intellectually disabled though.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The scene where Dodo takes a bath in the bathtub and tries dunking his own head into the water to play with his rubber ducky, where we, the audience, are treated to a rather clear view of Sammo Hung’s naked butt.
  • Oddball in the Series: A drama movie where Sammo Hung plays an autistic Manchild. Wait, what?
  • Personalized Pledge: When the autistic Manchild protagonist Dodo and a bunch of neighborhood kids accidentally witness a drug deal while playing hide-and-seek, they made a vow to keep silent... on their relatives' lives instead of their own. Dodo swears on his younger brother-slash-caretaker's.
    Dodo: I swear if I spill the beans, my brother will die.
  • Promoted to Parent: Tat, who had to raise his autistic brother Dodo by himself after his parents’ death.
  • Stand-In Parents: One comedic scene had a friend of Dodo (a little kid, expectedly) asking for Dodo to pose as his dad because he had bad grades in school. Hilarity Ensues, and by the end of the meeting, said kid ends up getting into more trouble than he’s already in.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: In the final action scene, while Tat is fighting off the Big Bad and The Dragon, Brother Yan and a few of their police force partners ends up being cornered by several mooks on the top floor. However, each of them still has a spare grenade, and they decide to lob ALL their grenades at once. Cue following shot depicting an entire row of mooks being blasted out from the highest level of a construction zone. Like, imagine a Railing Kill times roughly a dozen.
  • Tragic Dream: Tat’s ambitions to become a sailor and travel the world is promptly crushed because of his duty as caretaker to his intellectually disabled brother, Dodo.
  • Welcome to Corneria: When Dodo had to pretend to be the dad of one of his kiddy friends, but doesn’t know how to act like one, the kid tells him to repeat what his real dad would say every-time he got into trouble. Dodo as usual takes it hilariously literally.
    Principal: "Thanks for coming to this parent-teacher meeting, Mr. Pang. As you know, we’re always encouraging a better communication between teachers and parents, so it’s good of you to come and discuss the matters about your son."
    Dodo (posing as a dad): "Don’t you worry, I will punish the little brat by spanking him. "
    Principal: "That’s not necessary! I was only thinking, if it could be bad influences of his neighbors or friends. "
    Dodo (in dad-mode): "Don’t you worry, I will punish the little brat by spanking him. "
    Principal: "Another thing about your son is that he likes to lie. Once he took a classmate’s pencil sharpener without permission, and was caught red-handed, and he said the sharpener went into his bag all by itself."
    Dodo (resuming dad-mode): "Don’t you worry, I will punish the little brat by spanking him. "
    Principal: (realizing something is amiss) "Do you know your son molested a girl in class? "
    Dodo (dad-mode still on, but now absent-mindedly playing with a toy): "Don’t you worry, I will punish the little brat by spanking him."
    Principal: "Yesterday, your son killed a classmate. Were you aware of it? "
    Principal: "Thank you sir, you may leave now." (following scene had said kid being called to the principal’s office, now in bigger trouble than he was already in)
  • With Friends Like These...: Dodo’s friends, the neighborhood kids, who sees fit to use this autistic giant man as their personal toy.
  • World of Jerkass: Loads of other characters enjoy taking advantage of the mentally-disabled Dodo throughout the film…
    • The neighborhood kids, whom are a bunch of Fair-Weather Friend to Dodo when they need the big, disabled man for their own uses. Once they get what they need, they promptly bail and leaves Dodo to himself.
    • Dodo’s tuition teacher, who raises his voice on Dodo and delights on making an autistic adult cry. He even tells Dodo into his face that Dodo is a hopeless case, and once he gets his salary, he doesn’t give a damn what will happen to Dodo in the future.
    • The diner owner, when Dodo tries applying for a job. Realizing how Literal-Minded Dodo is, he tells Dodo to behave like an animal in public, saying he might consider hiring Dodo if the autistic man acts like a dog, bull, or eel (despite his wife nearby telling him to quit it and just let Dodo leave). When Brother Yan walks into the diner, sees what is going on and confronts the diner owner, asking what he would do if Dodo were his son, the diner owner gleefully said (in Dodo’s presence) he will just strangle Dodo because he’s a useless retard
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In the end of the movie, we get a complete Downer Ending where Tat, Brother Yan and their entire team of police officers, for their vigilante action to help Tat recover Dodo from the drug dealers, will get sentenced to life in prison