El Dragon: Return of Warrior Review: A Swing And A Major Miss For Netflix Should Have Stayed Away

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Summary

Coma-inducingly dull, this quasi action series tries too hard to be profound and misses just about every mark going.

A strange feeling sank in about 20 minutes into the second episode of El Dragon: Return of a Warrior, something I don’t ever recall encountering before. I imagine it must be somewhere close to the feeling of being in a fugue state. Something I have never experienced watching television. I have never encountered a show as forgettable as this. Somehow, narrative threads appear to evaporate before your very eyes leaving you to question whether or not you even sat down to watch it. This is combined with a glacial pace that makes each episode feel as though you’ve been watching it for days on end. The effect of these two co-existing phenomena is to leave the viewer in some sort of strange trance, simultaneously unsure of what is happening or how long they have been there. It’s a bit like having extreme jet lag without leaving your living room, an odd dislocation of time and space.

So how does El Dragon: Return of a Warrior achieve this feat? One word: Boredom.

In short, It isn’t very good.

A young man is sent away to Japan after the murder of his parents; 20 years later he returns to Mexico assume his role as the heir to his family’s cartel. This, to be fair, is a strong premise that sets up what should be an interesting series. The problem is, as is often the case, in the execution.

The script of El Dragon: Return of the Warrior is frankly appalling, with huge swathes of dialogue sounding as though they have been lifted wholesale from chichescreenplay.com, a fictional website I invented for the purposes of dragging on this show. If the villains were any broader they wouldn’t fit on screen. Drug cartels have never been more predictable or looked more awkward holding guns than this collection of rent-a-goons sipping tequila snarling.

Very shonky stunts and tediously paced set pieces that mean the action scenes drag forever with long takes and very cheap looking effects.

The camera leers at its female supporting characters with regular shots of women in a state of undress for no particular reason other than perhaps to distract the viewer from the shameful writing. This show is of course not alone in having questionable attitudes towards its female characters but somehow the imbalance feels more pronounced by the general rubbishness of everything around it.

Also, a 24 episode series?! Perhaps the producers could have taken their budget and spread it out and condensed it into a much shorter run. Each episode labors over its plot and you do really sense that if they had a 12-episode arc they would be forced to cover the same ground much more quickly and efficiently. Then again, I suppose if the best way to improve a show is to make significantly less of it then the chances are there wasn’t much in there of value to begin with.

There is nothing wrong with a glossy, by the numbers guns and gangsters crime show per se; indeed, Netflix is stacked with them. It doesn’t have to be original to be entertaining. Sadly, El Dragon commits perhaps the worst sin a show like this can. It’s boring and takes itself much too seriously to be fun and is nowhere near good enough to be taken seriously. A total armpit-stain of a show.

Andrew Punter

Andy joined the Ready Steady Cut team in October 2018. A Graduate of Exeter University, he writes mainly about films and TV.

7 thoughts on “El Dragon: Return of Warrior Review: A Swing And A Major Miss For Netflix

  • October 8, 2019 at 3:32 pm
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    blah blah blah, if you want to make your self useful let us know if there will be season 2?

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 9:44 pm
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    One of the worst tv shows ever. Bad script, bad acting, bad picture. Omg. I really tried to watch this. This one wins the worse mexican tv series on netflix and lets say it it really has big competition.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 9:48 am
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    Ok, taking into consideration where it was made and for that audience a little charity for the team is required. Personally found it addictive after first episode, yes it’s hammy, yes it’s cheesy,but….. It’s fun, no topless women to keep you hooked.
    It’s refreshingly different from the usual crap that has to use sex to keep you involved.
    How diverse a premise, Japan meets Mexico, Latin v Samurai…the cultural diversely divided national outlooks.. The most amusing thing is covering up vehicles manufactures names… This censorship is probably why the series is handcuffed to rigid rules Restricting the Directors work.

    When is series 2 coming out…

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 5:45 am
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    I Enjoyed it.
    Some parts could have been edited out, but on a hole, it was suspenseful.
    When does Season 2 be released?

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    • October 16, 2019 at 4:37 am
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      I loved the show hope they have a season 2

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  • October 15, 2019 at 8:30 am
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    El Dragon, Fabulous, was hooked straight away, it was suspenseful enough to be intriguing,really interesting the cultural differences and blend. Characters loved the chemistry especially between Miguel and Adela, their super approachable, charismatic and fun the type of people you’d like to chill and have a drink with. All the actors and actresses portrayed their characters perfectly. That what the shows about goodie, baddies a bit of entertainment, sometimes you just want to escape into the world their bringing on the screen Bring on Series two, I’ll definitely watch.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 8:23 am
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    I’d enjoyed the series, kind of would have done a bit more with the action/Japanese scenes and when Miguel goes through flashbacks ; but in general it’s addictive and the characters have a good chemistry with each other. I’ll definitely watch a second season, looking forward to it!

    Reply

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