Walk Like A Dragon

Watch Walk Like A Dragon

"THIS IS HOW THEY FIRST SAW HER...in the notorious Slave-Market of San Francisco's Chinatown!"
  • Approved
  • 1960
  • 1 hr 35 min
  • 6.7  (160)

Walk Like A Dragon is a 1960 adventure film set in the Wild West of 1870. The movie stars Jack Lord as the rugged cowboy named Linus, whose peaceful life gets upended when he meets a young Chinese girl named Mei Ling (played by Nobu McCarthy) who's on the run from her gangster uncle. Mei Ling is trying to escape from her uncle by joining her father in San Francisco but her uncle hires two mercenaries to hunt her down.

Linus initially wants to stay out of Mei Ling's troubles, but as he gets to know her and learns about her plight, he can't help but become involved in her fight for survival. With the help of two Chinese men (played by James Shigeta and Benson Fong), Mei Ling and Linus set out on a dangerous journey through the Wild West to reach San Francisco.

The movie is notable for its portrayal of Asian characters, a somewhat rare occurrence in American films at the time. The Chinese characters were given more depth and complexity than the usual stereotypes of the time. It was also one of the earliest films to portray mixed-race relationships sympathetically.

The chemistry between Jack Lord and Nobu McCarthy is another highlight of the film. They play off each other's strengths and weaknesses, creating a believable dynamic between a rugged cowboy and a young Chinese girl. Nobu McCarthy, in particular, shines in her role as Mei Ling, showing both vulnerability and strength in equal measure.

The movie is well-directed by James Clavell, who himself had a background as a prisoner of war in Japan during World War II. His experiences gave him a unique perspective on the East-West cultural divide, which he brings to the movie in subtle touches. For example, the scenes where Linus, the cowboy, interacts with the Chinese characters are shot in a way that emphasizes their physical differences. This provides a meaningful contrast to the scenes where Linus and Mei Ling are alone together, which are shot in a way that emphasizes their emotional connection.

Another strength of the movie is its depiction of the American West as a place where cultures collide. The Chinese characters aren't just victimized refugees; they're active participants in the Western landscape. The Chinese immigrants are shown as building railroads and running businesses, adding to the tapestry of the Wild West. This contrasted with the usual portrayal of Asians in Western movies at the time, where they were either exotic background characters or evil villains.

The movie also has a strong sense of pacing. The journey from Linus' ranch to San Francisco is fraught with dangers and obstacles, but it never feels repetitive or dull. The action scenes, while not as frequent as in a traditional Western, are well-staged and exciting. The movie also isn't afraid to slow down and focus on the character moments, allowing the audience to get fully invested in the characters' journey.

In conclusion, Walk Like A Dragon is a hidden gem of a Western movie. The movie's themes of cultural identity and interracial relationships feel relevant even today. The direction, pacing, and acting are all top-notch, making it a well-rounded and heartfelt movie. It's also refreshing to see Asian characters portrayed as fully realized human beings rather than one-dimensional caricatures. Walk Like A Dragon is a must-watch for fans of Westerns, adventure movies, and films that explore the complexities of cultural identity.

Walk Like A Dragon
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 35 min
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (160)