From the mind of the director who brought us Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter and Harry Knuckles comes a new indie sort of epic action film Enter The Drag Dragon.
The film tells the adventurous tale of an amateur detective and drag queen named Crunch who accepts what should be a simple case of looking for a lost dog. Soon Crunch and his friends are battling mummies, zombies, a group of special powered gangsters, androids, and ghosts in the abandoned movie theatre they call home. Ironically the theatre is in Ottawa and owned by the Director Lee Demarbre
The film delves into the question of can Crunch’s drag-fu help defeat these foes and return the dog to its owner, or does the case get too big to handle?
Demarbre’s “Drag-fu Odyssey” is perhaps the most ridiculous, over-the-top exploitation film to be released in years. It’s a mix of Troma-type humour mixed with Demarbre’s love for the city of Ottawa while a few musical numbers are thrown in to add even more color.
Four actors play the lead role of Crunch as each thespian manages to provide their own special charm and personality to the character. Thanks to the talent of Jade London, Samnaang Tep, Sam Kellerman, and Matt Miwa, Crunch is a multi-faceted character with a profound sensibility this type of film normally wouldn’t offer the viewer.
Beatrice Beres embodies the role of Crunch’s friend Jaws as the perfect balance to Crunch. She is the ultimate badass, funny, and is as strong or stronger of a character th Crunch. Other film characters are the Aztec Mummy and its Zombie Army, conversion therapy militia, and F.I.S.T. (Fearsome International Spies and Thieves.) All are written with the same abandonment as our hero and even have their own intro tags.
However, as outrageous as the characters are, Mark Pollesel, the screenwriter, has created a coherent, linear story that has character arcs, laughs, and songs which keep the story moving.. Throughout the motion picture the jokes are lewd, crude, and the dialogue seems more than appropriate for these characters.
There is a high production value and all the colourful costumes and props create a wonderful management of colors for the viewer to get lost in..
One of the most stunning aspects of the films is the cinematography by Petr Maur, Robert Patterson, and Randy Smith. Every scene is its own entity but at the same time an ode and respect to the filmmaking style Dembare tries to emulate.
The locations are like a travel guide, some might say a love letter to the city of Ottawa where this reviewer spent a year of his life ironically attending screenwriting school. My memory of waiting for the baselines bus while freezing off my digits will never fade.
In addition, the use of miniatures and forced perspective are unique. Even the animated special effects look great. There are a plethora of action scenes that work within the abilities of the cast and they all have a fun energy.
Enter the Drag Dragon is clearly not for your average audience. But if you ever gave a young Mel Brooks a chance, watching one of Lee’s cult films is truly worth it. Each viewer will find at least one thing that will ruffle their feather boa. Underneath the surface of the ballroom dresses and cha-cha heels are statements about drag culture, acceptance of various lifestyles, greed, and even workplace harassment. There is also the theme of friendship and being comfortable in one’s own skin.
Honestly, I don’t remember a time when I’ve laughed since my math teacher stapled a hairdressing school application to my F-graded math test in grade 10.
Lee has made a film which truly excites me about the Canadian film industry. Lee’s films have created a world that’s different from the contestant American entertainment we’re bombarded with on a regular basis, which can become somewhat cookie-cutter. Lee provides the Canadian industry hope that there are fresh new voices this country has to offer. This critic stamps a 5 out of 5 stars on Enter The Drag Dragon. I can’t wait to see his next opus.