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Saturday, January 23, 2021


 (L-R) Richard Dragon, Batman, Lady Shiva, the Bronze Tiger. Sheer badassery.

A dear friend who's immersing himself into the DC animated movies strongly recommended that I check out BATMAN: SOUL OF THE DRAGON, and he was absolutely right. Its setting is the world of '70's-era kung fu and blaxploitation movies, or rather a blending of the two flavors, and it reimagines the Batman as one of several former students of a martial arts master who band together to take on an otherworldly evil. It's non-stop action from start to finish and it will all be quite familiar to those steeped in the films that it evokes.

The originally Caucasian Richard Dragon has been recast as Bruce Lee's ENTER THE DRAGON-style superspy, and it works like a charm. The Bronze Tiger is also present — voiced by Black Dynamite himself and real-life martial arts badass, Michael Jai White — and I'll be damned if his look is not meant to evoke '70's-era Luke Cage, which also works beautifully. Lady Shiva is her usual utterly deadly self (the story does not in any way shy away from her total willingness to kill), and the Batman in this story is definitely the Englehart-Rogers version, visually returning his look to that of his 1930's pre-Robin iteration (my favorite version, BTW). 

Batman, rockin' it old school.

BATMAN: SOUL OF THE DRAGON is a solid winner and it gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION for those who are in on what it's laying down. The live-action Batman movies wish they were even 1/16 as good or as much fun as this 82-minute animated effort.
With these four united, the bad guys may as well dig their own graves and save the undertakers the trouble.

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