One Blu(ray) to Rule Them All: Dragons Forever (88 Films) Blu-ray vs Dragons Forever (88 Films) 4K Blu-ray

The 1988 Jackie Chan/Sammo Hung/Yuen Biao flick, Dragons Forever, has finally been given the treatment it deserves from the fine folks over at 88 Films. Read our review to find out more. This review has been updated to include our thoughts on 88 Films' 4K Blu-ray release.

Studio: 88 Films
Release Date(s): February 11th, 1988 (Hong Kong theatrical) / April 23rd, 1988 (Japanese theatrical) / January 1st, 1998 (home video) / March 16th, 2020 / January 10th, 2023 (4K blu-ray)
Run Time(s): 94 mins (Hong Kong and English versions) / 97 mins (Japanese version)
Region Code: B (locked) / FREE (4K blu-ray)
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (all versions) / 2160p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (4K blu-ray)
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Sound: Cantonese Dolby Atmos (Hong Kong version) / Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (Hong Kong and Japanese versions) / Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Hong Kong and Japanese versions) / English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Hong Kong version “remixed” and English versions) / English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Hong Kong version)
Subtitles: English and English SDH
Slipcover: Yes (first printing only) / Yes (hard box) (4K blu-ray)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, and Pauline Yueng
Written by Cheuk-Hon Szeto
Directed by Sammo Hung
Rating: 18 (strong violence) / Not Rated (martial arts violence)

NOTE (December 22nd, 2022) I have received 88 Films' brand new 4K blu-ray of DRAGONS FOREVER and I have included my thoughts about it down below. The picture and audio quality, along with the packaging and special features all have something new about them so I give my thoughts for each in their respective categories below.


Jackie Chan stars as a hot-shot lawyer hired by a Hong Kong chemical plant to dispose of opposition to their polluting ways. But when he falls for a beautiful woman out to stop the plant, Jackie is torn in a conflict of interest and asks his trusty friends Samo and Biao to help out at least until they discover the true purpose of the plant.

DRAGONS FOREVER is one of my favorite Jackie Chan films and one of my favorite from the 80’s. The comedy is one point and the action scenes are just amazing. This would be the last film the three brothers (Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao) would appear in together, as they had a falling out prior to the making of DRAGONS FOREVER. Sammo and Yuen would work on films together and Jackie and Sammo would work on films together, but for some reason, the brothers never made another film with the three of them. It’s a shame because they work so well together. They grew up together in a Peking Opera school, so they should know each other frontwards and backwards and that has never been shown better than here. 

Jackie Chan is known for going for the comedy in his fight scenes. His fights were never that brutal and he would always end up saving the bad guy if it looked like he was going to die. Sammo Hung was known for having very realistic fight scenes. Sure, they were heavily choreographed, but they were just brutal to the point that Sammo’s characters would kill their opponents more than they would save them (in the final fight at least). Yuen Biao was fast. He was acrobatic. His stunts were insane. 

Watching the brothers fight in DRAGONS FOREVER is amazing and sad at the same time. The fights between them are just so fluid and vibrant. They got the comedy and the action down pat and the fights together are some of the highlights of the film.

One complaint that I have with the film is the end fight scene between Chan and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. The previously fought each other in Wheels on Meals which is one of my favorite fight scenes ever, and this was supposed to be the rematch. While it is a rematch, the film has to cut between two other storylines (the same was done with WHEELS ON MEALS), but the cutting here seems sloppy. As Chan and Urquidez are getting hot, the film cuts to another storyline and kills the momentum that the fight was building towards. This is down a few times and I don’t think that it helps the film at all. This fight should have been one for the ages, but it just doesn’t make the grade. It is a good fight, don’t get me wrong, but it could have been so much more than that.

Despite my complaint about the end fight scene, DRAGONS FOREVER is a great film. All three brothers work together so well and compliment each other while the film has a sweetness to it. Actually, the film could be seen as a romantic comedy and many do. The film works in almost every area it explores and that makes it one of the best films to come out of Hong Kong in the 80’s. 


Featuring a brand new 4K restoration, and presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, DRAGONS FOREVER looks amazing. I have owned the film on multiple formats throughout the years and the film has never looked this good. The print is clean and debris free. Detail is extremely high throughout the film. Colors are natural and vibrant at times and skin tones are exactly where they need to be. Blacks are inky and film grain is present. This is one of the best restorations of a Hong Kong martial arts film I have ever seen and should be the benchmark for all other films to be judged against.

The sound here is just as amazing as the picture. Being owned by Fortune Star, DRAGONS FOREVER, like most of the other films from Fortune Star, was given a brand new English dub along with new sound effects to fill out the now 5.1 track. This track has haunted kung fu fans for over a decade. This track is here, but 88 Films has gone back to basics and included the original Cantonese and English dubs along with a hybrid track that contains the original English dub with the newer Fortune Star dubs included for scenes that were not dubbed. All of these tracks sound great and it was a true pleasure to finally hear the English dub I first saw Dragons Forever with all those years ago.

I reviewed the UK blu-ray that 88 Films had released a few years back and this 4K blu-ray is better in every way. (this is not to say that the blu-ray is bad. It is not. It's just not the best thing out there anymore.) Detail is high with small detail being rather impressive. The HDR darkens the picture a bit not too much. Blacks are deep and whites are nicely leveled out. Film grain is there but it is much more resolved than the blu-ray was.

The sound is upgraded to a Dolby Atmos track for the Hong Kong cut, but I do not have a Dolby Atmos setup so I can’t review this new track. I have seen a few people, who have sat down with the new disc who also have a Dolby Atmos setup say that the music has been moved to the outside channels and that it is too loud. Take that with you what you may.



Disc 1

Disc 2


Disc 1: Original Hong Kong Version (1h 34m 25s, HD)

Audio Commentary with Mike Leeder and Arne Venema- This the
highlight of the special features package. They talk about how the
title of the film is a lie, point all the times the actors are doubled
(which is a lot), and how much Hong Kong has changed in the
30 since the film’s release. There is not a dull spot during this
entire track and I can’t recommend it high enough.

Benny Forever (24m 36s, HD) Here we have an interview with Benny
“The Jet” Urquidez, who plays the main villain’s muscle. Urquidez spends
a long time telling stories from his competition days before getting to
talking about Dragons Forever. I really wanted to like this interview,
but I wanted to know more about the film and less about his fighting
days. Still, it’s not a bad interview and Urquidez is so positive that
you can’t hate on him.

Discussing Dragons Forever (7m, HD) This is an interview with David
Dessor who is a college professor. He talks about his love for Dragons
Forever and gives us some pretty standard history about the three
brothers and their history.

Hong Kong Cinema Forever (6m 5s, HD) Mike Leeder is the
next expert to be interviewed and most of the stuff he says here is
repeated in the commentary track.

Working with the Dragons (6m 15s, HD) Jude Poyer is the last of the
new interviewees. He has worked with Chan, Hung, and Biao on different
projects and spends the time he has here describing the differences between the three.

Double Jeopardy with Brad Allan (26m 36s, SD) This interview is the
first of 4 interviews from the Hong Kong Legends dvd of Dragons Forever.
Allan is the first non-Chinese member of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team.
He goes over his history and his work with the Stunt Team and work he
got because he was on the Team. 

Beyond Gravity with Joe Eigo (13m 2s, SD) Eigo has worked with Chan
on a few films during the early 2000’s and talks about his experiences with

Kick Fighter with Andy Cheng (38m 46s, SD) Cheng also has worked with
Chan on a few films and talks about his experiences.

Thai Breaker with Billy Chow (34m 11s, SD) This interview begins with
Chow in a tournament before having him sit down to talk about his work with
the three brothers.

The Legacy of Dragons Forever (2m 33s, HD) A very brief borage of martial
artists and Hong Kong movie experts saying why they love Dragons Forever.

Deleted Scenes (3m 36s, HD) There are two scenes with Yuen Biao
and his doctor.

Japanese End Credits (1m 28s, HD) For some reason, Dragons Forever
didn’t include the outtakes during the credits like most Jackie Chan films, but
the Japanese version of the film did.

Outtakes and Behind the Scenes (13m 2sm HD) No sound here (as
recording sync sound was not done during this time in Hong Kong), but
we get to see what goes into the making of Hong Kong film. The score
plays while these scenes are going on as to have them be silent.

English Trailer (2m 20s, HD)

Hong Kong Trailer (3m 10s, HD) There is some really funky editing going on
here along with some sci-fi sounding effects.

Disc 2: English and Japanese Versions

Dragons Forever- English Version (1h 34m 9s, HD) Commissioned by
Golden Harvest for international audiences outside of Asia with full classic
English dub.

Cyclone Z- Japanese Version (1h 37m 54s, HD) Produced exclusively for the
Japanese market, this Cantonese language version includes two extra scenes
and an ending with outtakes. 

We also get a nice booklet with writings on the film as well as some really cool promotional material.

All of the special features are here including the wonderful commentary track with Mike Leeder and Arne Venema, but 88 Films has gone the extra mile and given us some new features. First up, we have an interview with Chin Kar-Lok, who was a stuntman on the show. Kar-Lok covers his career and what it was like to be a stuntman in the 80s during the peak of Hong Kong action cinema. It is presented in Cantonese with English subtitles. Next up, we get an interview with Szeto Cheuk-Hon, who wrote the script for the film. He speaks of working with Barry Wong and what it was like to be a screenwriter back then. The last new feature is an audio commentary by Frank Djeng and FJ DeSanto. When the first DRAGONS FOREVER blu-ray was released in 2020, I had commented that it felt a little bit off that there was no Frank Djeng commentary track given how big this film was. Now, 88 Films has rectified this with this new track that is everything we could have hoped for and more. Djeng is joined by FJ DeSanto and they give us all things DRAGONS FOREVER, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, and Hong Kong Cinema. It is a wonderful track that is a must listen, but what Frank Djeng commentary track hasn’t been?

Special Features for the 2022 4K Blu-ray release:

Elite Stuntman: Interview with Chin Kar-Lok (39m 17s, HD, 1.78:1)
Writing for the Dragons: Interview with Szeto Cheuk-Hon (47m 48s, HD, 1.78:1)
Benny Forever: Interview with Benny “The Jet” Urquidez (24m 36s, HD, 1.78:1)
Discussing Dragons Forever: Interview with David Desser (7m, HD, 1.78:1)
Hong Kong Cinema Forever: Interview with Mike Leeder (6m 5s, HD, 1.78:1)
Working with the Dragons: Interview with Jude Poyer (6m 15s, HD, 1.78:1)
Double Jeopardy: An Interview with Brad Allen (26m 36s, SD, 1.78:1)
Beyond Gravity: An Interview with Joe Eigo (13m 2, SD, 1.78:1)
Kick Fighter: An Interview with Andy Cheng (38m 46s, SD, 1.78:1)
Thai Breaker: An Interview with Billy Chow (34m 11s, SD, 1.78:1)
The Legacy of Dragons Forever (2m 33s, HD, 1.78:1)
Out-Takes and Behind the Scenes (12m 57s, HD, 1.85:1)
Music Video (English) (2m 55s, HD, 1.78:1)
Music Video (Cantonese) (2m 55s, HD, 1.78:1)
Additional Cantonese Dialogue (40s, HD, 1.85:1)
English Trailer (2m 20s, HD, 1.85:1)
Hong Kong Trailer (3m 13s, HD, 1.85:1)
Audio Commentary by Frank Djeng and FJ DeSanto (JP Cut)
Audio Commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema (HK Cut)


DRAGONS FOREVER is one of my very favorite kung fu flicks. The three brothers make this a film that has stood the test of time. The fights are amazing and the comedy is funny. 88 Films has given the film the most royalist of royal treatments. The picture and sound have never been better and the special features package is worth every second it gives you. This is a must own release and it will happily see an entry on my “Best of” list at the end of the year.

So, which version of DRAGONS FOREVER would I recommend? Both of them, of course! I mean, if you aren’t 4K ready and don’t plan on being, then I would say that the 2020 blu-ray would be the way to go. It has the 4K transfer that was used for this release while having all of the bells and whistles minus two interviews and a commentary track. If you are 4K ready or plan on being soon, then I would recommend this new 4K release. It has all of the stuff that the 2020 release had plus more. The picture and sound quality are really great and worth this release. I can’t really recommend one over the other as they are both equally great. Go for the 2020 blu-ray if you only do blu-rays and the 4K blu-ray release if you do 4K. It’s that simple.


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