Until very recently, Oriental dancer Ling Moy (Anna May Wong) had no
idea who her father was Doctor Fu Manchu (Warner Oland) - and upon meeting
him for the first time, he promptly dies on her, after having just killed
his arch enemy John Petrie (Holmes Herbert), after having failed to do so
20 years ago (in Return of Dr
Fu Manchu). But since then, Petrie has fathered a child who has
grown up to be a man, Robert Petrie (Bramwell Fletcher), so he makes his
daughter promise to kill young Robert with his dying breath.
then that Ling Moy lives next to the Petries, that her father has seen to
it that she is surrounded by accomplices, that nobody knows that she is Fu
Manchu's daughter, and that both young Petrie and Ah Kee (Sessue
Hayakawa), the detective responsible for Petrie's safety, have fallen in
love with her. However, Ling Moy's first attempt to stab Petrie to death
amounts to nought because she feels something for Petrie as well.
second attempt is made on Petrie's life soon afterwards, an attempt that
involves an elaborate plan that has Ling Moy seducing Ah Kee while Petrie
and the police are lured away to Limehouse, Petrie's fiancée (Frances
Dade) is kidnapped, and Petrie is separated from the cops and trapped.
However, Ah Kee sees through her game too soon. Ling Moy has him tied up
because of that, but he makes a daring escape jumping out of a window just
when the police arrives, to attract attention. Sure, he dies for it, but
with his dying breath fills the police in on the whole plot. This is not
the only hero's death Ah Kee is allowed to die though: Later, when Ming
Loy tries to stab Petrie and his fiancée, already cornered by the police
and desperate to fulfill her father's mission, Ah Kee shoots her dead
instead, again with his dying breath ... makes sense to me, too, since man
has two lungs, he has two dying breaths, right?
Anyways, apart from Ah
Kee's death, everything ends happily.
This last in a trio of
films starring Warner Oland as Fu Manchu is also the
slickest of the bunch, it's decently paced and there is enough action to
keep one entertained. However, that doesn't make Daughter of the Dragon
a good film - in fact it's little more than a routine thriller filled with
two-dimensional characters that at times seems to virtually shy away from
giving the plot even a modest amount of depth. Instead it merely relies on
the mechanics of the plot, even if they at times seem disappointingly
In all, certainly not the worst film ever, but nothing to
really make one happy, either.