Sunday, 19 July 2009

Project UFO: The Phillip J. Roth Files

Dragon Fighter

If fire breathing dragons trouble your day forget about the female boss and take charge of the nights viewing with Dragon Fighter. Get drawn back into a pre credit setting of 1109 AD Southern England where the grassy hills are kept short not by ye old lawnmower but something far more hot to trot. Local folk are part of an early fast food chain where ending up a crispy flambĂ© is the Twelfth Century equivalent of a drive through. With a fire breathing dragon swooping down from the sky above this is actually a fly by and he’s not too particular on napkins to clear up the afters either. The CGI created winged beastie is passable enough and certainly one that draws the guard of the realm to hunt it down. Cornered in a rocky cavern he creates an inferno but one that ends up causing a cave in, leaving it and the brave warriors buried alive.

Catapult forward to the modern day and star Dean Cain pilots a helicopter toward a secret scientific base hidden below ground. He plays Captain David Carver, a high security clearance military man, commissioned to deliver his scientist passenger safely to the holding and take his position as chief security officer. The scientific laboratory is where top secret cloning is carried out and Carver’s commuter just happens to be delivering the fossilised remains of the preserved dragon.

The film style adopts a snappily edited real time feel that also adopts a regular smattering of split screen paraphernalia along the same outline as TV hit show 24. This for the most part works well and gives good perspective P.O.V shots from both human and later dragon eye views. Yes indeed it doesn’t take more than a spatula full of common sense to work out that the crazy scientist amps up his Doctor Frankenstein chamber and starts screaming it’s alive, as Dodo dead dragon soon gets reanimated. The incubation period for the scaly misfit of science proves to vastly surpass the regulatory time scale and escalates out of control like the ice age hit with a billion flame throwers all at once.

Captain Carver has to take to the helm and steer the gathered biologists away from the test tubes as the embryonic monster rapidly grows into a full sized pyromaniac with wings. Dean Cain once again takes on the mantle of Super Man as he proves to be a modern knight in a set of fatigues with a sidearm for a sword. Cleaning up after cloned dogs and rats is one thing but squaring off against a mightily miffed fire breathing carnivore is way past what he signed up for.

With newly hatched dragon hot footing its way down the myriad of corridors the facility goes into lockdown and all communication to the outside world is severed. The cast start becoming the prey as their progeny gets a taste for hot things and fries, with a particular liking for 21st Century human roast. The menu soon starts to look a little bare as Carver’s job to protect and serve calls for hunt and kill tactics to be added to his resume. Action chase time as two hunters stalk the dimly lit low level corridors with similar aplomb to Alien but here the headline reads Super Dragon VS Super Man. If that big ole ‘S’ is emblazoned upon Dean Cain’s chest here it sure as heck stands for something a little more descriptive that appropriately links well following the word scared … !. A change of underwear is the least of his worries though as the facility panic button has been hit and Captain Carver has a very short time in order to evacuate the surviving team members.

This is Big Fun escapist entertainment that actually pumps itself into a frenzy of satisfying silliness come the barn storming end sequence. Prepare for a true old school Monster ‘B’ movie finale that’ll strap you in for a wild ride guaranteed to have you rooting for the effects team.

Review Paul Cooke / Source USA NTSC DVD

Dragon Fighter (2003)
Director Phillip J. Roth
With Dean Cain, Kristine Byers, Robert Zachary,
Marcus Aurelius, Robert DeTillio & Velsa Dimitrova


  1. Excellent...these articles (all mine at least) seem lost in the ether thanks to that last hard drive crash, I hope I can find the back ups!!

  2. Stay tuned, a Phillip J. Roth fellow BBB Review is likely to pop up very soon without you even realising ... shared collectable drive double team to the rescue :) .

  3. Hi, I'm trying to track down the 4-hour Italian TV version of "Il Mondo Di Yor", aka "Yor, Hunter From the Future."

    I have completed an MST3K style commentary on the film so it's very much on my mind at the moment.

    There's a preview at my Youtube account (whole thing at and you can contact me there. Many thanks.

  4. If this has your B Movie stamp of approval on it I might just have to grab a copy, it combines two things I love most in this world: dragons and Dean Cain, so whats not to like??

  5. Carl, it's definitely worth picking up & should be readily available at a bargain buy price. For a 'B' movie it is for sure very much a Big Fun Actioner, scoring high on both counts for you in regards to Dragons & Dean Cain.
    Dean Cain is doing some good stuff on the 'B' Movie circuit. Have you seen Dead & Deader ?. Very much worth your time. Please do check out the following Review:

    Dean Cain Vs Mutant Zomboids with on the nail cutting humour ripped straight from a film fans memories of yesteryear. Very Cool flick.

  6. Dragon Fighter is a nice movie and I've seen it a couple of times. I wonder what happen to UFO? Haven't seen any new movies in a while.

    All this dtv-movies has also got me to respect Dean Cain more and more. Just wished he and Casper Van Dien could do a monter-movie together :D


  7. Hey there Fred. UFO are still producing but Philip J. Roth's last Directed movie was Dark Waters (2003). He seems to have been signed up for the Sci Fi Channel delivering with some frequency quickly produced efforts to some more recognised movies. Films such as The Messengers 2 & The Grudge 3.
    Coming from UFO studios very soon is Graveland starring C. Thomas Howell.