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Film / Legacy of Rage

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Serving up action, Hong Kong style.

Legacy of Rage (Chinese: 龍在江湖) is a 1986 Hong Kong action film, directed by Ronnie Yu (who also directed The 51st State, Bride of Chucky and Freddy vs. Jason) and starring Brandon Lee, late son of legendary martial artist/movie star Bruce Lee.

Brandon Ma (played by Lee) is your normal man living in Hong Kong, with girlfriend and motorcycle dreams in hand. His friend Michael (played by Michael Wong), however, is instead involved with the local drug trade and is looking for a way to take care of a corrupt cop who’s been taking a bigger chunk of the stash and profit allowed. Michael sets it up so Brandon takes the blame, and Brandon is sent to jail for eight years.

Once freed, Brandon has one clear goal: get revenge on the man who took away his freedom.

Tropes in this film include:

  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Brandon and Hoi against Michael's thugs in the finale, in typical Heroic Bloodshed manner.
  • Belly Dancer: The place where Michael invites Brandon to carry out his betrayal is an expensive Middle-Eastern restaurant, with its main entertainment being a beautiful belly dancer. As Michael deals with a cop who doubles as a fellow drug trader, the dancer gives Brandon a more personal show.
  • Big Fancy House: Michael's mansion, guarded by several mooks where the final shootout takes place.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Brandon had killed Michael and saved his son, but May is dead, and Brandon is reduced to a struggling single parent whose son was probably traumatised for life, having witnessed his father committing multiple murders.
  • The Cameo: Michael Chan shows up for a brief role as a mob leader.
  • Car Fu: Near the climax of the movie, there's a lengthy car chase between Brandon, Hoi and several of Michael's thugs as the two heroes make their way to Michael's mansion.
  • Catch and Return: During the car chase sequence, a henchman managed to hurl a grenade into the jeep Michael and Hoi are in. Michael grabs it and throws it back, blowing up the henchman and a car full of enemies.
  • Evil Former Friend: Michael, although he's never really a friend to Brandon to begin with.
  • Fall Guy: Brandon ends up becoming the scapegoat to a drug deal gone wrong, and sentenced to 8 years of prison.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: In the final shootout, a chandelier is shot down by Brandon and crushes two mooks.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Michael, just Michael. Inverted with Hoi however, he wears glasses throughout the film and is Brandon's closest friend after Michael's betrayal.
  • Guns Akimbo: Brandon and Hoi in the finale, using dual pistols and Uzis with deadly accuracy and easily laying waste of Michael's legion of mooks.
  • Hate Sink: Michael loses every single shred of redeeming quality in the second half of the film. Its bad enough that he's a False Friend who's willing to use Brandon as a fall guy for his drug operation, but then he betrays his alleged best friend, keeping Brandon in jail for 8 years as he single-handedly climbs up the ranks in the triads. As a triad leader, he repeatedly gloats of his power and success, and doesn't bat an eye towards his betrayal. When May, Brandon's girlfriend rejects him, he had his mooks hunt her down and kidnap her (who's raising Brandon's son as a single parent), forcing her as bait to lure Brandon out. When Brandon successfully killed his way to Michael's mansion, Michael tortures May to death and leaves her bloodied corpse exposed to intimidate Brandon and shoots Brandon while Brandon is stunned by shock. Failing to kill his former friend, Micheal then threatens using Brandon's son as a hostage. Michael's Karmic Death is well-deserved, shot repeatedly to death by his former best friend whom he betrayed in exchange for power, wealth and glory.
  • I Have Your Wife: Brandon's girlfriend, May, gets captured by Michael alongside her son, setting up the climatic finale.
  • The Lancer: Hoi, in the second half of the film.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: A really epic one occurs as Brandon and Hoi unloads Hoi's weapons cache from behind their jeep, on their way to Michael's mansion.
  • Mook Chivalry: Played ridiculously straight in the climax. After Brandon and Hoi killed off most of Michael's thugs, Brandon discards his guns and made his way towards Michael's master bedroom, where he gets ambushed by three unarmed thugs - one at a time - who tried taking on Brandon using Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • Papa Wolf: Brandon, killing more than twenty mooks single-handedly to save his child.
  • Railing Kill: Happens several times in the final shootout to mooks shot down by Brandon and Hoi.
  • Razor Floss: In the climatic battle, a Mook Lieutenant tries to strangle Brandon with a razor garrote, and gets dangerously close to doing so, the sharp wire causing several large gashes on Brandon's palm as Brandon struggles with his opponent. Brandon eventually got himself out by whacking his opponent's eye until it caves in, and then flipping his opponent on a glass frame where he gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The climax is set off when Brandon storms his way to Michael's mansion to rescue his wife and son. Unfortunately only the latter made it out alive.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted, during the climax Brandon and Hoi have seemingly killed off every mook remaining in the area, and stops to talk. Then an extra mook suddenly shows up from behind a balcony and shoots at them, injuring Hoi and nearly hitting Brandon.