Whether or not you dig tonight's review, the final in the martial month of Chan-uary, depends greatly on whether you can stomach the lens-aping amplified toilet humor of director Wong Jing, the man responsible for helming such Fu Sheng titles as Hong Kong Playboys(1983) and Wits of the Brats(1983), and some ninety-eight others to date, that deal with everything from gambling to heroic bloodshed, and even taking potshots at other directors and stars that have described his work in the press with words like "cheap" and "no good" with obvious parodies in his own films.On the set of tonight's entry, based upon a popular Japanese manga, Director Wong was often seen to get into shouting matches with his leading man, Chan, who took offense to his character's womanizing(a stark contrast to the family values that the actor vigorously promotes) and having learned techniques from Bruce Lee while watching a screening of Game of Death(1978) in another sequence, calling for Wong to be ousted as director on the project.In response to Chan's open negativity towards his methods, Jing promptly parodied him two years later with his film, High Risk(1995), where a character, 'Frankie Lone'(Jackie Cheung), is a popular action star who performs all of his own stunts, but in reality, is a drunk womanizing lecher who performs no stunts himself(ouch.).Also included in that release are satirical portraits of Chan's own father, manager, and even a penis joke(!).Chan was naturally offended, and went on to disown his performance in tonight's movie, and attack Wong personally in the press.As somebody who grooves on both men's work(for the most part), I find City Hunter an unusual mix of nonsensically silly comedy and breathtaking stunts and fight choreography, and a mostly entertaining one, at that, but I'm not at all surprised to find this particular effort drawing mixed reviews from genre nuts out there.Forwards! City Hunter, Ryu Saeba(Jackie Chan) is a sucker for chicks... Ryu Saeba(Jackie Chan) is the legendary "City Hunter", and with the help of his love-struck assistant Kaori Makimura(Joey Wong), he's been commissioned to track down a girl named Shizuko(Kumiko Goto), the runaway daughter of a Japanese newspaper magnate.Kaori leaves Ryu to his own devices in the search after having her feelings for her employer cast aside so that he can flirt with a gaggle of other broads instead.Ryu tracks Shizuko to Victoria Park, where an elaborate skateboard chase ensues, but the young beauty manages to elude him in the end by disguising herself as a fellow and gaining passage on the Fuji Maru, a luxury cruise ship.Saeba manages to stow away, while Kaori boards the ship with her creepy cousin, Hideyuki(Michael Wong).Amongst the other passengers is Colonel Don MacDonald(Richard Norton), and a gang of heavily-armed thugs, who plan on hijacking the vessel, kidnapping and robbing the affluent cruisegoers of their valuables, in the process.Unknown to MacDonald, a sexy undercover cop named Saeko(Chingmy Yau) and her busty companion(Carol Wan) have also found their way on board with designs on stopping his crimes.With Shizuko's cabin adjacent to the colonel's, she overhears his fiendish plans, barely escaping one of his men before being brought to the boiler room by the ship's first officer, in cahoots with the baddies, only to be saved by a starving Ryu, who K.T.F.O.'s two redwood-sized brothers in the ship's theater area after being inspired by the Bruce Lee v. Kareem Abdul Jabbar fight from "Game of Death"(1978) on the big screen.He thanks the Dragon afterwards, and is surprised to hear the late movie star respond to him from the film(!). ...and cheeseburgers.Or sliders, depending on your viewpoint. In the ship's casino, McDonald interrupts the captain's cheesy dance party, as hosted by DJ's Soft and Hard, forcing the partygoers into a card game for their lives as his henchmen snatch up the available loot.That is, until Kao Ta(Leon Lai), a stylish hustler with concealed sharpened playing card shurikens enters the game, buying time for Ryu and Shizuko's escape with the help of Saeko.McDonald's right hand man, a long haired Western muscle-laden bastard named Kim(Gary Daniels), tries to rape Kaori, while one of his gay leg fighting associates, Chen(Ken Lo), tries to ravage her cousin(!!), getting Ryu captured by the boss in the horny hijinks.As the City Hunter is about to be executed on deck the next morning, Shizuko, Saeko and her girlfriend manage to thwart the firing squad, signalling the onset of several crazy fights, not least of which pits Ryu against Kim in the gaming room, where the Westerner throws the detective into a Street Fighter II console, shocking him into assuming the roles of E. Honde(instead of "Honda", since Chan was under contract with Mitsubishi at the time) and Chun-Li to defeat Ken, before finally snapping out of it.When a Taiwanese counter-terrorism unit arrives and dispatches McDonald's men, he takes Kaori hostage, detonating several bombs he's placed around the ocean liner until Ryu squares off against him, managing to see saw-flip him onto the stage, where he inadvertently steps on the tv remote, setting off the remainder of the bombs behind the tv screens there, and wiping himself out.Back on terra firma, Kaori overhears Shizuko's father suggest that Ryu marry his daughter, and storms out into the street, where she eventually smashes her boss with a giant hammer, Python-style, sending him into a daydream, surrounded by lusty women in a swimming pool. On a crowded ocean liner, there's nary an opportunity to be uninterruptedly creepy. Jing also supplied the screenplays for late Fu Sheng vehicles Treasure Hunters(1981), Fake Ghost Catchers(1982), and Wits of the Brats(1983), as well as scoring cameos in such colorful genre titles as The Evil Cat(1987), A Chinese Ghost Story(1987) and the film we kicked the month off with, Twin Dragons(1991), where he plays a supernatural charlatan beaten into a wall by none other than Liu Chia Liang.Regardless of what critics say about the guy, he's not about to call it a day anytime soon, directing four movies in the past year alone.Chan followed Hunter up with Crime Story(1993) and Supercop 2(1993), before tackling the legendary Drunken Master II(1994) with elder Liu.Though he continues to release movies on a regular basis, it's been at least thirteen years since he's appeared in anything noteworthy or ambitious enough to merit attention from his core fanbase.For a guy almost sixty years old now, I'm sure he's satisfied with the way things worked out.On the scale, City Hunter earns three very silly Wops, and is definitely worth a look for the stunts, fight sequences, and hot Asian broads abound within, even if you're no big fan of Wong Jing's sense of humor.Stay tuned at the Wop, as we return to biz as usual in February, the sexiest in cult, horror, and exploitation flick reviews that you're liable to find.感谢您的阅读! E. Honde(Jackie Chan)'s Hundred Hand Slap is too much for Ken(Gary Daniels).
The first visible signs of Hong Kong martial arts movies evolving into viable international action hits can be seen in tonight's review, the first of several movies that would feature all three Peking Opera stars, Chan, who wrote, directed, and choreographed the fights while performing all his own most treacherous stunts himself(though Mars doubles for him in spots), the rotund Sammo Hung, who also choreographed fights and stunts while directing in an uncredited capacity here, and acrobatic Yuen Biao, who also earned a choreography and stunt credit on the groundbreaking film, also known as Pirate Patrol.While the Shaw Brothers set the standard with their incredibly intricate sets and cost efficient productions in the seventies, Project A would raise the bar to a height that the former genre giants found great difficulty in matching, effectively signalling a permanent changing of the guard at the top.Though a period piece on a truly epic scale like this would certainly have broken the American market at the time for Chan(this unfounded credit I give you Americans, you must cherish and protect always), it wouldn't be re-released here until well after Jackie had finally achieved recognition over a decade later.I've heard some crazy talk from jaded action fans who've been weaned on a steady diet of the film's wirework and greenscreen-driven successors that involves words like "boring" and "overrated" when discussing tonight's entry, but to these and any detractors of the movie's effectiveness or historical importance, I say:Had you seen the film in 1983(as I did, courtesy of a rental VHS from Happy Sound in Chinatown), you'd be singing a different tune entirely.This one's packed to bursting with jaw-dropping fights, life-gamble stunts, physical comedy, and adrenaline pumping action from start to finish like no movie had ever showcased before it.Go ahead and stack it up against 48 Hours(1982), I triple dog dare you.Onwards. You're a silly, silly man, Jackie Chan. Somewhere between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century(In HK film, the more vague the timeline, the better), the Hong Kong Marines and Police Force find themselves at competetive odds, while the port's ships have been under siege by a particularly foul army of pirates, as led by San-po(Dick Wei), a privateer as tattooed as he is malignant.Cue: Glass-smashingly/chair-breakingly elaborate bar fight between both services to the tune of a nearby victrolla that jumps off when the cocky young son of a police captain named Hong Tin-tsu(Yuen Biao) dumps his lager on the lid of one Dragon Ma(Jackie Chan), a young Marine, resulting in the consequent arrest of all the seamen, who are released just in time for a suicide mission to topple the pirates, the titular 'Project A'.Before any of them can become martyrs, two of their ships are sunk, forcing the entire force to disband and integrate into the police, leaving them at the mercy of prickish Hong, who teaches them how to take sixty second showers and how to avoid live grenades in the field, among other things.Meanwhile, the pirates have allied with local gangsters, who, in turn, have approached Fei(Sammo Hung), a chubby hustler, about procuring a hundred rifles illegally for the scurvy sea dogs, when the gangster's club is suddenly raided by Hong, Dragon, and associates.Cue: Window-shatteringly/table-pulverizingly amazing ruckus with men swan diving off of balconies, through tables, and into walls and steps.Afterwards, when the police captain demands that the men release their collars, Dragon turns in his badge, weary of the corruption roadblocking any true justice to be had.Fei, an old friend of Dragon's, divulges the arms deal info to the ex-cop, and both men sabotage the exchange, with several double-cross attempts to follow. K.T.F.O.ed by a bicycle tire, how humiliating for you. The empty-handed gangsters put the squeeze on Fei, who gives up Dragon, leading the thugs to chase the former officer and the Admiral's daughter, Winnie(Isabella Wong), all over town, up steep brick walls, jousting on bicycles, and finally, handcuffed and hanging from one of the hands of the Kowloon Canton Railway Clock tower, from which Dragon plunges sixty feet through several awning canopies to the ground(you'll want to see this a few times, believe me) head first.After overhearing the Colonel negotiating guns for the hostages(the Admiral included) that were taken by the gunless pirates with Mr. Chow, Dragon(remember him?Yeah, he survived that clock tower fall earlier as evidenced by the single take of him getting up and walking away moments later.Drink that all in for a second, would you) confronts the Colonel, arguing that men who are as morally bankrupt as the pirates and gangsters will never fear the police force if they are corrupt, themselves.Good point.Dragon then accepts all responsibility for the upcoming rescue attempt/ pirate base dismantling so long as the Colonel okays the Marines return to full strength for the ressurected Project A.Dragon infiltrates the pirate base masquerading as the top hat-and-monacled Chow while Hong waits in the wings with his men at the ready.The sneaky Fei dons pirate garb and tags along, with designs on helping his old friend and blagging some pirate treasure along the way, if he can help it.When Mr. Lee(Lee Hoi-San) recognizes Dragon from the fight in the clock tower, it sets off a frantic finale of fights, dynamite-explosions, and a tremendous three-way battle between Dragon, Fei, Hong, and San-po, the pirate king, the result of which you'll have to experience when you snag a copy of this highly recommended kung fu classic for yourselves. Clock tower fall, take three.Go ahead and let go again, Jackie, we're rolling... Before we wrap up tonight's review, I wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who've been regularly checking in during Chan-uary, making this one of the biggest months the site has experienced, traffic-wise, in quite a while(and traffic's always choice 'round these parts, don't you know).We'll have to try and pull off some different themed months in the future, no?In any case, we'll be tornado-kicking Chan-uary into the history books with one last entry to come, so keep your eyes peeled for that martial morsel, grasshoppers.Detail-attentive fans of cinematic pugilism will instantly recognize Dick Wei, who plays the main antagonist/inked-up sea dog, as the old master soaking in the cauldron at the outset of Chang Cheh's Five Venoms(1978).It'd be four years before Chan would reprise his Dragon Ma role in attempting a sequel, Project A II(1987), which, for the record, was also an enormous hit, winning two HKFA's for best choreography and editing, while netting over 30 million HKD at the box office.I'm sure we'll tackle that one sometime in the future, but as for tonight's review?Essential viewing, and top five all-time material, without question.Four Wops. What your favorite action star's wet dreams are made of.
For those of you that might be pondering which movie singlehandedly revolutionized the modern action film, tax your grey stuff no longer, we're about to cover it here in Chan-uary at the Wop.If you've been captivated by breathtaking, mile-a-minute action accomplished through wirework or computer generated-means in recent action fare, there's a solid chance that whoever coordinated those sequences drew inspiration in some way from tonight's review, the film that Chan himself declared would be the ultimate cop movie that his Hollywood failure, The Protector(1985) should have been.One-upping himself after already broadening the scope of Hong Kong action standards with Project A(1983) might have proved a tall order for anyone else in the world, but Chan makes it look nearly effortless here, were it not for the brutal blooper reel during the end credits that reveal the inevitable contusions and fractures that come with serving up stunts that border on certifiable insanity, the like the world had never seen before.A far cry from the budget-heavy explosion fests Hollywood was showing audiences at the time(yet influential to movies like Tango and Cash and Bad Boys II), the hugely successful film(and Jackie's personal favorite), a Best Film and Best Action Choreography winner at the 1986 Hong Kong Film Awards, has spawned four sequels to date.Sharing the marquee with Chan this time around are Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, and Feng Ko An, among others.This one saw regular airplay at my place in the VHS days of yesteryear, as my co-conspiritors will attest to, and stands as my personal favorite modern Chan-man flick, bar none.Forwards. No CGI or wirework here, folks. During an early morning shantytown drug raid, botched by Inspector Man, a crooked cop on the take, his partner, Kevin Chan(Jackie Chan), orchestrates a car chase through a mountainside full of collapsing huts and exploding gas cannisters, then traverses the entire mountain when his suspect, a drug lord named Chu Tao (Yuen Chor), hijacks a double decker bus in a rush to avoid justice.Chan hooks a ride on the speeding bus with his umbrella, gets knocked off in traffic, and still somehow manages to get in front of the vehicle and send it to a screeching, glass-shattering halt just inches from him, as he collars his disbelieving perpetrator.Afterwards, Chan is awarded a spot as a media representative of the police force, then given the task of bodyguarding Chu Tao's secretary, Selina(Brigitte Lin), who's scheduled to testify for the prosecution against her former boss.One of Chan's buddies(Mars) on the force breaks into her apartment in a mock attempt to silence her(comedy ensues), and on the way out to her car, they're attacked by real bat-wielding thugs, barely escaping in one piece due to Chan's amazing fighting skills.When they arrive at Chan's apartment, his girlfriend May(Maggie Cheung) and her friends surprise him with a birthday party, but a nightie-rocking Selina on Chan's arm causes the jealous squeeze to smoosh the cake into his moosh.Scooter hijinks, false bravado, more cake-facedness.Selina, who notices the face of her earlier attacker in a police academy photo, tampers with Chan's tape recorded testimony and breaks the fuck out like a yeast infection in the middle of the night, leaving Chan to embarrass himself in court with a cassette full of sexual innuendo between he and the missing witness.Chan loses face, Chu gets bail. I bet there's a lotta broads who'd rather jump off a roof than put up with another second's worth of my shit.Just sayin'. Chan later arrives to rescue Selina, who's feigning having been kidnapped, only to get framed in the murder of Inspector Man by a vengeful Chu.When he's placed under arrest at the station, he snaps, temporarily taking the Superintendent(Lam Kwok-Hung) hostage at gunpoint to buy himself enough time to clear his name and apprehend Chu.When the gangster's men botch rubbing out Selina, she spitefully downloads all of Chu's incriminating computer data at an office in a large indoor mall, alerting his thugs to the sudden theft, and ushering in a violently adaptive martial finale inside the shopping center between Chan and Chu's thugs, who take turns smashing each other into various perishables and belt-driven interfloor transportation in the quest for Selina's briefcase.In the melee, the valise plummets several stories to the ground floor, where May retrieves it, only to get roughhoused by Chu and his men.In the "Holy Fuck" moment of the movie, which is ripe with several to begin with, from the top floor, Chan jumps from the ledge onto an electrified pole and slides down through and ocean of breaking bulbs and raw electricity, smashing through a glass ceiling before reaching the ground level, where he's finally able to cuff Chu.His fellow officers turn a blind eye as he punches up the druglord's silver-tongued lawyer, and kicks Chu through a glass display case.We freeze frame on Chan in mid-attack, being held back by his associates.Cue theme song and blooper reel over end credits. "No thanks, I was just window shopping...with my face." As always, avoid the New Line redubbed, re-edited cut on dvd or bluray, and spend the extra scratch on a Chinese or Japanese print(Dragon Dynasty, if you can snare one), which oughta include anywhere from ten to sixteen extra minutes of footage, if that's your bag, man.Chan would cameo in Kara Hui's Naughty Boys(1986) vehicle, before tackling Armor of God the following year.Brigitte Lin would again share the spotlight with Chan in Peking Opera Blues in 1986, before landing roles in genre staples like The Bride With the White Hair(1993) and it's sequel a year later, and Chungking Express(1994).Cheung would reprise her role as Chan's girlfriend in Police Story 2(1988) and 1992's Supercop, the third in the series, before appearing opposite Jet Li and Donnie Yen in Hero(2002).Chan's epic pole slide resulted in burned mitts, breaking two vertebrae in his spine, and dislocating his pelvis.I honestly don't know how anybody could ever settle for less in an action star after pondering such amazing footnotes.On a note of much lesser importance, Chan also croons the theme here, which was a huge hit, borrowed by a HK tv series, the HK police in recruitment commercials, and finally, New Line for their later Chan vehicle, First Strike(1994), the fourth of the series.This one should be on your shelves in some format.A perfect four Wops.See it now! I would have taken the escalator, but that's just me.
Here's one of the more likable Chan efforts while under Lo Wei, around the time the uber-serious Dragon Fist(1978) was completed and utilizing much of the same cast, though this production doesn't take itself nearly as seriously, a plus, in this case.With Chan handling much of the fight choreography in tonight's period gung fu mystery that plays like Hercule Poirot with crane beak strikes, the action is mostly top notch, save for a few less-than-stellar contests between the so-called clan grandmasters.The original English dub as featured on the VHS(the longest cut of the movie available to date, thus far) or the early Simitar dvd is a real fuckin' hoot, with some of the most memorable martial one-liners you're liable to encounter on your genre travels.Regardless of the format you can track it down on, it's definitely a title that'd benefit from an exhaustive treatment from Dragon Dynasty or the like in future.The cast showcases the talents of Bruce Lee regular Nora Miao, who previously shared the screen with Chan in Wei's New Fist of Fury(1976), and looks good here, Kam Kong, a student of leg fighter Tan Tao Liang who appeared in sixty less-than-amazing titles imho, the best of which were his Chan works, and Tung Lam, a familiar face in the Shaw epics of the early seventies.It should be duly noted that, though Jackie's a cocky wiseass throughout here, most of the humor, or Lo Wei-flavored attempts at such, comes from Korean pipsqueak Kim Jeong-Nam and Lee Man-Tai, who plays one of those familiar dusty beggar-types.Did I mention the film begins with a dramatic form sequence?This one's right up there for those panning for early Chan-man gold; there may not be enough to scrape into an ingot here, but you'll score a little brilliant flake, none-the-less.Onwards. "It's fun to stay at the...wait, where are C and A?!!?" Some time ago, the top eight Shaolin masters of their respective gung fu styles got together and created the ultimate technique, The Eight Steps of the Snake and Crane, and managed to document the movements in a training manual, which disappeared, as did the martial artists responsible for it.Enter Hsu Yin-Feng(Jackie Chan), a mysterious stranger in town, who cockily flaunts the knowledge that he possesses the book, when he isn't dispatching opponents with brief and vulgar displays of martial power.The local clan heads seek out Hsu to try and test the Snake/Crane style against their own skills, believing he has personally killed off all the grandmasters in gaining the book for himself.Among the folks constantly pestering Hsu is one Tang Ping-Er(Nora Miao), who's looking for her missing father, and who offers him her fleshy wares for access to the manual, to which he responds, "Women are just like children. Too vague and indecisive." Amen, brother.Also perpetually on Hsu's jock is the miniature Hung Chu(Kim Jeong-Nam), a daughter to a local clan leader who's taken to gearing up like an unconvincing beggar and nagging Hsu about the book herself.Hsu offers very little information to the interested parties, instead lambasting anybody who's fool enough to challenge him along his travels, and the fights keep mounting.He defeats all comers with a cocky finesse and economy of movement(only displaying the Snake/Crane technique towards the end of the fights, after he's well perturbed by the challenges), haughtily remarking, "Having that book gives me a certain charm, though.", all the while searching for an elusively mysterious scar on the bodies of his opponents...The plot thickens. "Just you nine lousy bastards? You must be tired of living!", says Hsu(Jackie Chan). After much backstabbery, where clans flip sides quicker than an orangish Jersey Shore terrone baking under a sun lamp, eventually, Hsu reveals that he's been trained in the secret style by the eight grandmasters in question, one of which, Master Huang(Tung Lam) having survived the attack, sends Hsu out into the martial world with a fake manual to lure out the real killer of his colleagues, equipped with the knowledge that said killer bore a unique scar on his body.It turns out that Master Chien(Kam Kong), the head of the Black Dragon clan, has just such an identifying mark, and what's more, is the very unscrupulous sonuvabitch that Hsu has been seeking all along.The local clans band together with Hsu, and Tang follows suit as well, after the Black Dragons manage to kill off waif-esque little Hung.What unbridled unscrupulosity.Driven by a desire for revenge and to save face for his honorable teachers(and anyone who's lost it to this point, really), Hsu goes toe-to-toe with Chien, who seeks to gain the manual, and ruthlessly rule the world of pugilism with an iron fist(what else would he want the damned thing for, I ask you).Hsu comes out on top, of course, after a lengthy final battle, restoring harmony, justice, and gung fu for all practitioners everywhere.Freeze frame, please. "Hung Chu(Kim Jeong-Nam), who dressed you, the Manson girls?" Chan also helped coordinate stunts for this one; a well-trained eye will detect slight flares of vintage Jackie in the multitude of fights that pass before the lens during the film.I can only imagine old Lo visiting the set and schitzing out over all the film being wasted on fight choreography.Chan'd follow this entry up with the 3D period flop, Magnificent Bodyguards(1978), before embarking on his historic loan to Seasonal Films the same year.Kong also appeared in villainous garb in Jackie's Shaolin Wooden Men(1976) and Half a Loaf of Kung Fu(1978), as well as generic kung foolerly like Shaolin Kung Fu Mystagogue(1976), The 18 Bronze Girls of Shaolin(1978), and Shaolin Invincible Sticks(1979).Besides her co-starring roles in Bruce Lee's first three movies, Nora Miao also scored credits in Bruce's Deadly Fingers(1976), To Kill a Jaguar(1977), and The Kung Fu Kid(1977), later appearing in Jackie Chan's Dragon Lord(1982), as well.After directing Chan in Half a Loaf of Kung Fu(1978) also, Chen would later go on to become executive director on such epic martial fare as titles like Police Story(1984), Project A II(1987), and Police Story Part II(1988) with the actor.Like I said, this is about as solid a Lo Wei Chan-man feature as you're liable to find, though nowhere near as entertaining as Jackie's later efforts.On the scale, two Wops.Worth a look. "Here is my handle and here is my spout!"
In 1980, Jackie Chan kicked off a long-standing relationship with Golden Harvest studios with tonight's entry, having just come off a disappointing initial Hollywood star bid with The Battlecreek Brawl(1979) and out of a creativity-stifling contract with Lo Wei after Raymond Chow and Wang Yu('Jimmy', not Yung, mind you) finally convinced the angry old man to call off his Triad muscle and let the blossoming young star venture out on his own.For his first feature, Chan assembled an impressive supporting cast that included Shih Kien, aka/ "Mr. Han" from Enter the Dragon(1973), Peking Opera classmate, Yuen Biao, lovely shadow kickstress extraordinaire, Lily Li Li-Li(Clones of Bruce Lee(1978) didn't offer as many Lee's in succession, I'd imagine), and not least of all, Hapkido grandmaster Whang Ing Sik, ruthless and sinister, as always, as the negatively charged obstacle in Chan's path towards martial harmony.Without Lo to hold him back, Chan effectively crafts a period piece unlike any that came prior(and most that came afterwards), injecting a broad range of physical comedy into elaborate fight choreography that includes a historic finale square off with Master Whang that runs upwards of fifteen minutes in length(!) and is entirely unique for the time in that it often resembles a real brawl between the two actors, foreshadowing things to come in Chan's later modern vehicles.Thirty-plus years later, Young Master remains one of Jackie's best films to date, packed full of fists, feet, and folly enough to keep the eyes of any self-respecting kung fu movie enthusiast well glued to the non-stop action, and the smirk-inducing hijinks in between.The whole thing starts out with a critical Lion Dance... Yuen Biao's benchmark bench skills come up short against Jackie's poleplay. With top student Lo(Wei Pai) suffering from a leg injury that leaves him out of a competitive lion dance with the rival school, a desperate Master Tien(Tin Fung) is forced to rely on Lung(Jackie Chan) to control the head, instead.Midway through, Lung discovers that the rival lionhead is being controlled by Lo himself, in a treacherous turn to score cash towards a slut from the local brothel he's taken a shine to(Pussy over pugilism?Preposterous!).The broken-hearted Lung stays tight-lipped concerning his elder brother in defeat, and even covers for him when he tries to lay the concubine down on his spacious floor mat(!), but Tien uncovers the fiendish plot and banishes Lo, later sending Lung off to find him after his better judgment takes over.Meanwhile, Lo finds work with the rival school, freeing a career criminal/martial murderer named Kam(Whang Ing Sik) from an enshackled procession to jail on a desolate country road.The authorities identify Lo's white fan and offer reward money for his capture, unaware that Lung also has a white fan in his possession.Mistaken for the man he's been sent to find, Lung crosses paths with the son(Yuen Biao) of the local Marshall, Sang Kung(Shih Kien), who tries to aprehend him using his bench-centered kung fu, and later the Marshall himself, who anonymously helps Lung defeat his own son before springing his identity on him (but after Lung has pimpslapped the son's grill and verbally abused the pair). Hilarious quicksand hijinks ensue with Lung and Sang repeatedly tossing each other into the quagmire, and Lung eventually evading Sang's bracelets and the subsequent arrest. "You're his 'dumb ape of a father'??!!Ooof!" laments big-mouthed Lung(Jackie Chan). Lung inadvertently wanders to Sang's home, covered in mud, and asks his daughter(Lily Li) for use of the family rainbox while she goes out shopping.Sang, also dirtier than a hedonist's chastity belt, wanders into the showers, unaware that the man he's been trying to aprehend is on the other side.After some soapy ass-grabbin' slapstick, Lung uses the Marshall's antique pipe as leverage in a prop-heavy fight with the lawman before his daughter returns(Does mistaken identity ever stop being funny?No?Well, have some more, then) and takes Lung out using her billowy skirt to execute shadow kicks on him.Elsewhere, in a greedy instant, Kam, weary of Lo and looking to lessen the gang's loot-divvy by one, frames him during a bank heist.Lung, now free of all criminal suspicion by default, throws himself on the mercy of Sang to release his fellow schoolmate, but to no avail, until he remembers the effectiveness of blackmail through the Marshall's delicate pipe.Reluctantly, Sang agrees to free Lo from the local jail only if Lung singlehandedly apprehends Kam and his gang in the young man's place.After improvising some fabric into a flowing skirt, a disguised Lung humiliatingly defeats Kam's henchmen(Fung Hak On, Lee Hoi San)in the center of town, first mimicking the shadow kicks of Sang's daughter, then pasodoble-ing them like a matador would charging bulls.Against Kam in the countryside, Lung finds himself hopelessly outmatched, as refereed by the rival school's stroke-faced boss(that the overlord was about to cut out of the split when Lung showed up).Kam repeatedly punishes the young fighter with devastating kicks and punches until Lung is accidentally given opium pipe water in between rounds, which transforms him into an unstoppably furious attacker.He carries the bodies of both men slumped over a bo staff back into town, keeping good on his promise.In the end, we see Lung in a body cast as a result of the fight, covered head to toe in bandages, save for two fingers, which he waves bye-bye with.Credits... "Look at these bulging veins!I'm having an acute myocardial infarction!" Chan would revisit the concept of using berserker strength to tip the odds in his own favor again in the finale of Liu Chia Liang's Drunken Master II(1994), even injecting a similar sense of comedic realism when the final reel ends(his character ends up retarded from drinking industrial alcohol in Drunken, and broken everywhere but two fingers in bandage-wrapped mummy-style traction in Young).Young Master also marks the first of many instances where Chan provides vocals for the theme song, in this case, "Kung Fu Fighting Man", himself.He followed this hit up with a sequel, Young Master in Love(1982) aka/Dragon Lord, after the film surpassed all previous box office records held by Bruce Lee, establishing Chan as Hong Kong's top draw.His second bout with the director's chair(after Fearless Hyena(1979), which we just took a look at), a perfect introduction to real Chan-man fare for newcomers to his often-imitated style of action film.In my estimation, the only thing missing here is a training sequence of some great degree of difficulty, or form display on a dramatically lit stage, to showcase the techniques he was going to ride to ultimate victory, the kind that viewers had come to expect from kung fu movies of the era.But I'm not gonna punish the movie for going against the grain; on the contrary, it stands as one more three Wop Jackie Chan kung fu movie on the scale.As we've seen thus far in Chan-uary, he's got quite a few of these in his filmography, and the month's not nearly over, just yet.Highly recommended. "Heaaaavy metaaaal or no metal at aaaall, all wimps and posers leaaaaave the haaaaaall!"
Tonight's review marks the second time(or fourth time if you count both Cannonball Run movies, but I try not to, at all costs) that Hollywood attempted to unleash the Jackie Chan phenomenon upon the unsuspecting American moviegoing public, with much the same indifference, in the form of a box-office shit sandwich, it received five years earlier, with the release of The(mostly unspectacular) Battlecreek Brawl.Try to keep in mind that the rest of the civilized world had already seen and loved Jackie Chan in period piece epics like Drunk Monkey in a Tiger's Eye(1979) and recent modern adventures like Police Story(1984).I sat in a theater that was empty, save for about seven seats, most of which were occupied by cats who weren't terribly impressed with Chan's unique brand of fight choreography and stuntwork.In fact, the only chuckles out of them came when Chan choppily delivered dialogue, showing that his English had actually regressed since Brawl.A week later, there was another movie on the marquee, with the feature netting less than one million in U.S. ticket sales when the smoke had cleared.So what went wrong this time?Well, firstly, the material was pedestrian buddy cop fare with precious little on-screen chemistry between Chan and his co-star, Danny Aiello(Danny friggin' Aiello, really? He and Jackie go together like a parmesan pu-pu platter).Most detrimental to the project, I think, was Glickenhaus' refusal to let Jackie handle the fight choreography or stunts himself, and insistance that Chan's character mirror Dirty Harry, with loads of excessive nudity and profanity, none of which would fly in the average Chan movie.Comparing the slow-moving U.S. theatrical cut to the much sleeker HK version that a frustrated Chan re-shot and re-edited afterwards, I'm gonna go ahead and say that Jackie was right all along. That's a mighty Studd-ly bump o' hubba yer insufflatin' there, Big John. After watching a post-apocalyptic punk gang elaborately jack up an out-of-town trucker of his shipment of computers at a red light, we're introduced to officers Wong(Jackie Chan) and Alexander, who stop at a bar after work, unaware that a gang of coked-up bad guys are about to rob the place.Wong does some mighty fine slo-mo divin' and shootin', but his partner catches a fatal one in the melee.Not content to let backup hunt down the last fleeing robber, Wong chases the wounded gunman across a marina on foot, then borrows a speedboat to spectacularly crash into the yacht the criminal has stolen, with an air unit lifting him to safety at the last possible second.We've had enough of your cowboy antics, Billy Wong.It's back to crowd control with Officer Garoni(Danny Aiello) for you.Only, on their first undercover assignment together, they manage to allow Laura Shapiro(Saun Ellis) to get abducted from under their noses.On the belief that she may have been kidnapped by Hong Kong crimelord Harold Ko(Roy Chiao) as leverage against her father as evidenced by phonecalls Shapiro's bodyguard, Garrucci(Bill "Superfoot" Wallace), made to a massage parlour there, the two cops make for Hong Kong.At the massage parlour they namedrop Garrucci, and are abruptly attacked by knife-wielding happy ending girls while sprawled out on rubdown tables.Cue breathtaking-yet-funny fight between Wong and the entire establishment, complete with jump spinning crescent kicks off of walls and tiddly-dipping in overly hot sauna.After a stern talking to by the HK authorities and a visit to Lee Hing(Kwan Yeung)'s supply boat to cash in a favor owed, and another lengthy chase sequence, the boys return to their hotel room to find a suitcase full of cash and two plane tickets, before a failed snipe attempt results in two more dead bodies and totalled burning vehicles in the street.Garucci pays Hing a visit, and kicks the snot out of one of his friends(Lee Hoi San) before giving him the same treatment.Hing is found dead, his tortured body hanging off of his own burned-out boat, sinking in the harbor. Parkour was created in the nineties, eh?I wonder... Not so easily swayed by death threats or warnings from authoritative figures, Garoni and Wong make an appearance at Ko's press conference to announce the purchase of a new race horse, and disrupt it, chucking his briefcase of money into the air.Garoni and Hing's black buddy follow Gurucci to one of Ko's makeshift opium labs, where, depending on the cut of the film, fully dressed or totally nude brawds stuff opium into hollowed out melons, and rescue Laura Shapiro, with Garoni, wounded, and abducted in her place.Wong sends Laura to the authorities, then descends upon the shipyard where Ko has demanded the switch(Laura for Garoni) take place, only to find it crawling with thugs, not least of which, being Gurucci, who jumps into battle with the cop, trying to shear him in half with a miter saw and electrocuting himself in the process.Wong fights his way through the underlings, video game-style, ultimately squaring off against a box-throwing Chinese musclehead on a high platform suspended by crane.Meanwhile, Ko is in his private helicopter, hovering around with his Mac-10, and trying to pick Wong off.That Harold Ko...is a real snake.Naturally, Garoni gets his hands on a 20 mm cannon and blows a sniper's tower away in slo-mo, before Wong manages to drop the crane's contents onto Ko's chopper, transforming it into a badly edited fireball, and ending the boss's reign of terror once and for all.Back home, the two grinning cops are halfheartedly awarded medals of honor as the credits roll. Garrucci(Bill "Superfoot" Wallace) could hardly wait for Officer Wong(Jackie Chan) to don his safety goggles and work gloves to start cutting pallets down for his wood stove. Glickenhaus, who helmed the 1980 cult classic, The Exterminator, claimed that his effort would always be Chan's biggest success on this side of the pond, reasoning that American audiences would never sit still for Chan's style of action.Insert your "Wah wah wah WAAAAAAAH" Price is Right buzzer right here.Though Jim's cut of the film is widely accepted as lethargic, exploitative garbage and a failure selling tickets, the Hong Kong version achieved moderate success afterall, and is a much better time to be had, believe you me.Besides, there's a lot less Danny Aiello running around in boxers in the latter version, and that should seal the deal for anybody reading this entry, besides maybe Mrs. Aiello.Chan would follow this one up with 1985's sequels to Winners and Sinners, My Lucky Stars and Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars, before moving on to do Armour of God(1987), while Aiello would later declare the video for Madonna's 'Papa Don't Preach' he would appear in was "crap"(!).Interestingly, the late Butler, Pennsylvania native and reverse bearhugger extraordinaire, John Minton, aka/"Big John Studd" would go on to appear in several more movies like Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man(1991) and Shock 'Em Dead(1991), before succumbing to liver cancer four years later.Our string of three Wop movies for Chan-uary is broken by this mostly average effort that merits two.If we're talking about the U.S. theatrical cut, subtract one more of those and avoid like Grady "Lobster Boy" Stiles did pinky rings. "Departmental medals of honor??!It really does pay to recklessly play by your own rules afterall!"
Here's a favorite Chan-man flick of mine, a glorious return to Lo Wei's studio from a highly successful two picture loan to Seasonal Films that yielded both Snake in Eagle's Shadow(1978) and Drunk Monkey in a Tiger's Eye(1979), a charmingly rough variation on those two films co-directed by Jackie himself, his debut.Before the departure, Chan's unmistakable flair in front of and behind the lens was becoming more and more obvious to old Wei, and with each new picture he was given more creative license than the last.Though Hyena certainly offers nothing new or innovative concerning plot("You killed my teacher!"), it serves up boatloads of fight choreography, techniques, and slapstick comedy that was hitherto unheard of in the martial movie world.The film stands as one of the vehicles Chan used to change the face of said world forevermore, and though kung movies have evolved several times since then, it makes for an enjoyable look back to when Jackie singlehandedly got the ball rolling.Along for the ride here are James Tien in old age makeup and wig, Once Upon a Time in China's Yen Shi Kwan as the main heavy, Tien Chi Cheng of Five Element Ninja(1982) fame, Hui Lou Chen, and wiry Dean Shek as a coffin seller.The soundtrack ...ahem, borrows from The Pink Panther and Superman:The Movie, but you won't dwell on the larceny for very long whenever Chan fills the frame, especially the finale here, lengthy as it is fucking awesome, trust me on that.Classic martial mayhem as only Jackie Chan could deliver it.Onwards. Pssst, that bumpkin on the left? Yeah, that's Jackie. Shing Lung(Jackie Chan) lives a meager existence with his overbearing grandfather/sifu(James Tien), whose rules are simple:Don't show your martial skills in public, and don't gamble, or I'll thrash you.Lung, unaware that the reason his grandfather demands pugilistic modesty, is that a caped bastard named Yen Chuen-Wong(Yen Shi Kwan) has been tirelessly scouring the countryside for all proponents of that particular style of kung fu, and snuffing their candles, immediately, if not sooner.Looking to make some extra money after a stint at the funeral parlour goes instantly sour with the director(Dean Shek) getting trapped inside one of his own second-hand coffins(!), Lung offers his services to a local would-be gym as run by 'Tee Cha'(Lee Kwan), a conniving weasel and friend to three bumbling idiots(Great Bear, Iron Head, Stoney Egg) that Lung easily defeats, and who doesn't know a lick of martial arts, naturally, fighting all challengers and drawing potential new students to the school in the process.To avoid news of his pugilistic contests getting back to Grandpa, he poses as various disguised characters, battling "The Willow Sword"(Tien Chi Cheng)(who he calls 'Shit Sword', mind you) and others, first as a simpleton in a foppish hat, then as a hairy Chinese schnoz-heavy broad(!!), clobbering a fat womanizer repeatedly in the face with bricks.As per usual, Yen stumbles upon the school, now dubbed "The Everything Clan", fights with Lung, recognizes the style, and uses the young man's naivete to lead him directly to his grandfather, who he pulverizes into a corpse in minutes.Lung is prevented from aiding his pummeled pops by an elderly cripple, who also foils his attempts to run off and exact revenge in revealing himself as 'The Unicorn'(Hui Lou Chen), one of his grandfather's old classmates. "Is that a monk's spade in your pants, Fatty, or are you just glad to see me?" The Unicorn becomes Lung's sadistic interim sifu, plaguing him during dinner by keeping the meat off of his chopsticks in a show of hand skills, and torturing him with impossibly difficult training exercises, like pulling huge sacks tied to ropes(sometimes with the Unicorn on top), and upside down situps.For the special purpose of vengeance, Lung is taught 'Emotional Kung Fu'(seriously), where Joy, Sorrow, Happiness, and Anger are separate techniques to be utilized in discovering an opponent's 'emotional weak spot'.After busting out a nifty form montage showcasing each of the styles with Unicorn narrating over the top, Lung is finally prepared to avenge his grandfather's death(yeah, I know) and return prestige to the Sien Yi clan by issuing a hearty beatdown to Yen and whoever else he's got in his corner.First up, Lung squares off against three of Yen's associates, who are armed with folding bladed staves, trying to dice up Lung's teacher with them.After getting some hair cut in the acrobatic process of whooping their asses, Lung turns to Yen for the big finale.At first, the caped bastard in the ponytail gets the better of Lung, mocking him and any techniques he utilizes as ones "he learned as a small baby"(how's that done, then?).Then Lung unleashes the secret Emotional style on him and the tide instantly turns, with the older fighter unable to figure out his younger opponent's attacks, which fly at him with riotous laughter in one instant, and uncontrollable sobbing the next.In the end, Lung does the villain in with a flurry of Anger style, exhaustedly turning to his injured sifu as the movie reaches it's end. Shing Lung(Jackie Chan) leaves 'em all slicing at air. Chan followed this one up with Lo Wei's Dragon Fist(1979), a period piece that's unusually serious for a Jackie Chan movie, and 1980's The Young Master, which we'll be looking at this month.The first exposure to Hyena, for me, was as a 'Crazy Monkey' trailer with a disco pop theme song sung by girls(!!!) on another rental VHS from Chinatown, with no English subs.Years later, I scored the Columbia TriStar dvd, which, despite the goofy box art that has zero to do with the movie inside, provides the best print I've seen of the movie to date.I doubt it'd set you back more than a couple of bucks, at most.Though it might not match up to the apex films of the genre after forty-plus years, it more than displays a glimpse at everything that set Chan apart from the rest of the pack at the time.The fourth three Wop movie in a row.Will the streak continue, my pugilistic pals? Time will tell. Jackie be nimble, Jackie be quick, Jackie go undah de limbo kick.
Tonight's feature is a legendary Sammo Hung modern action/comedy filmed on location in Barcelona, Spain, that unites all three Peking Opera classmates, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, and Sammo himself(rocking a drip kit, ferchrissakes!) for the third time to date, after Project A(1983) and Hung's own Winners and Sinners(1983); also on board are former Miss Spain, Lola Forner, Herb Edelman, fellow "Lucky Stars" Richard Ng and John Shum, Black Belt Magazine's 1981 Fighter of the Year, Keith Vitali, and Basque/Blackfoot kickboxing champion, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, who, with Chan, provides a fight sequence towards the end of the film that many rank high on their all-time favorite movie fight lists.Add to the mix a wacky banana-yellow fast food restaurant on wheels, kidnappings, a motorcycle gang, inherited legacies, a mental hospital, trademark mind-blowing car chase, and a knock down, drag out finale set in a freaking castle, and it's not difficult to see why this one, which dates back for me to a stickered up Video World rental VHS under it's alternate title, Spartan X(more about that later), is still such a wildly popular entry in the Chan filmography.According to Chan, Golden Harvest switched the order of letters in the title to avoid the recent bad luck the studio had experienced with movie titles that started with 'M'(!).Unhampered by the usual difficulty when filming in Hong Kong, Sammo enjoyed full compliance from the Spanish authorities while shooting, even during the intricate car stunts.For those of you who like your kung fu without so much long white eyebrows and elaborate sets in it, this one's got slapstick and jump spinning wheel kicks in a modern setting, though most of the actors' brightly colored eighties-wear here looks like somebody fused an episode of Punky Brewster into a taping of Dance Party U.S.A.It just adds to the laughter you're bound to encounter, trust me on this one. "Ménage à trois???!!!" Thomas and David(Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao) are two expatriated Chinese roommates who peddle fast food out of a tricked out yellow van they like to call, "Everybody's Kitchen(or 'Cocina Para Todos', since they're in Spain)", in the center of Barcelona.Thomas takes and delivers orders viz skateboard, while David, a nearsighted/goodhearted nerd with awful fashion sense and a father who's flipped his lid in the local nuthouse, cooks them up on grills inside the vehicle, which has been equipped with an automated control panel complete with Atari 2600 level sound effects for when the benches, seats, and awnings slide out.Occasionally, they're forced to display their kung fu skills, like when a multicultural dirt bike gang(they're everywhere, the bastards) tries to ruin their business with exhaust fumes and loud engine buzz.Their friend Moby(Sammo Hung) is a rotund Chinese secretary(with a jheri curl) to Detective Matt(Herb Edelman), who's behind the monetary eight ball to some unsavory types and in going into hiding, turns the business over to his assistant.While Moby plays private detective in the office, his very first client strolls in, unbeknownst to the oblivious fatso.Meanwhile, a beautiful young whore named Sylvia(Lola Forner) who's been purloining the pockets of her tricks, seeks refuge with our two spring roll-slinging heroes, who she repays by rapaciously jacking their dough, then making off with the vehicle(and wallet) of the adulterous Italian stereotype-ah who-ah shares the building-ah with them.She gets into a fender bender with Moby, who's seeking a woman who worked as a maid for the estate of a man named Mondale and her twenty-something daughter who stands to inherit his vast fortune and property.She falsely gives him the Italian's information and jacks his wallet before driving off.This broad is good. This thug(Keith Vitali) wasn't looking for a glass of water, so David(Yuen Biao) gives him a pitcher instead. It isn't long before Mondale's nephew(Jose Sancho) is sending out blazer-sporting miscreants(Benny Urquidez, Keith Vitali) to hunt down the heir and her mother, who happens to be a nymphomaniac institutionalized with David's father(!), and kidnap them so that Sylvia's inheritance is transferred to Mondale instead.Moby takes David and Thomas out for drinks at a disco so he can ask for their help with the case, but they hoodwink him into shouting anti-Spaniard sentiments to the mostly Spanish crowd.When the boys next encounter Sylvia, she's being pursued by Mondale's thugs, who prove to be tougher than they originally expected.There's a death-defying van chase all over Barcelona, then a hideout in a mountain of smelly stumblebums, and a showdown at the asylum which leaves Thomas, David, and Moby temporarily defeated and the girl and her mother abducted back to the villain's sizeable castle.The martial trio bands together to infiltrate the fortress and rescue the women, but all three eventually get themselves captured through every silly fault of their own.At the dinner table, Mondale loses face, cuing a battle royale between his two henchmen and the boys, with Moby himself squaring off against the head honcho, who proves to be quite an adept fencer, indeed.Meanwhile a Muay Thai flying knee from Thomas nearly sends his opponent out a castle window in defeat after a tense battle that saw the thug-in-braces(and visible flak jacket) kicking out a row of candles with a single kick.Elsewhere, David's dizzying acrobatics prove mostly ineffective against his hard-kicking foe, so he simply smashes a pitcher off of his dome, rendering him unconscious.In the catacombs, they find Moby barely holding off the attacks of Mondale's foil, until they combine skills and force him to concede.We then see the boys working the food beat again, first dropped in on by Sylvia, now a limo passenger, who asks for waitress work for the summer, then Moby, who asks the boys to help him on an Eskimo case.They kick him in the ass.Freeze frame. "My fist's got first dibs on your grill and ribs, Buh-buh-buh Benny the Jet!", says Thomas(Jackie Chan). Strangely enough, the aforementioned VHS copy of tonight's review, which was nominated for a Best Action Choreography award in the 1985 HKFA's, turned out to be the only format with Jackie's signature blooper reel during the credits left intact, apart from the later Japanese laserdisc release.A year later, all three friends would reunite for My Lucky Stars and Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars, both semi-sequels to Winners and Sinners.Not my favorite three showcases for the actors by a long shot.Forner would appear with Chan again in Armour of God(1987), while Urquidez would again square off against him in Dragons Forever(1988).Though the duo's dynamic show of pugilist skill is certainly praise-worthy, I'm kinda left flat by the other two final fights.I've seen Yuen Biao defy gravity on many occasions throughout his career, his match with Vitali just seems lazy and uninspired, and the same goes for the brief Hung duel afterwards.That's probably me just spoiled by decades of quality fight features, but I'll do that if you aren't careful.Other than my slight chafe, this is mostly flawless martial arts action with enjoyably silly comedy that you'll probably dig.On the scale, each star merits a Wop for his performance, for an impressive total score of three Wops.Highly recommended. What's with the Chinese fire drill, guys.
For our next entry in Chan-uary, we look back to the year 1987, which saw the release of tonight's review, Chan's box office record breaking hit filmed entirely in the former Yugoslavia(because of their lax insurance policies for motion picture stuntmen, no doubt), and his biggest to date.Chan's legendary d.i.y. approach to stuntwork nearly got him killed this time around, after misjudging a jump from a high wall across to a tree branch and falling fifteen feet to the ground below, with cameramen rushing to salvage the expensive camera equipment before tending to the seriously injured action star(!), who required cranial surgery to remove pressure from a fractured piece of skull lodged against his brain, leaving him temporarily comatose, with a permanent plastic plate in his head and partial hearing loss in one of his ears.That he survived proves he must've been wearing the titular armour of uppercase G during the shot.Content-wise this time around, Chan crafts an often hilarious, always entertaining James Bond-meets-Indiana Jones adventure one-upping his previous high watermark for excellence in comedy, fight choreography(helmed by middle Liu, Chia Yung here), and gravity-mocking physical stunts that defy the realm of possibility for any human being on the planet not named Chan Kong Sang.Sharing the spotlight with Jackie here are the delectable Miss Spain 1979, Lola Forner, who also appeared in his earlier Wheels on Meals(1984), Cantopop sensation Alan Tam, whose late seventies musical outfit, "The Wynners", is parodied in tonight's script, and Rosamund Kwan, who'd appeared alongside Chan in Sammo Hung's Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars in 1985.Years later, Miramax Pictures, after acquiring the U.S. distribution rights, would re-release the film's 1991 sequel, Armour of God II:Operation Condor, re-edited, re-dubbed, and simply re-titled Operation Condor, then give tonight's review the same treatment, re-titling it, Operation Condor 2:The Armour of Gods.Let's see, that effectively makes the first movie of the series it's own sequel, and vice versa.Wait...huh?Let's just get to it already, sheesh. Asian Hawk(Jackie Chan) introduces the joys of chugging slavic pilsner to some angry primitives. We first meet international adventurer/mercenary-for-hire, Asian Hawk(Jackie Chan), as he plunders an ancient sword from some African-ish natives, dazzling them with a technological okiedoke before somersaulting, flipping, sliding, and diving to safety; barely avoiding the indigenous folk and their sharpened speartips and taking to the skies in a nifty getaway glider strategically hidden in the bushes, both his pilfered booty, and his own Asian booty, intact, once again.In Italy, he attends the public auction of the recently stolen treasure where a planted phantom bidder boosts the final price for Hawk's benefit, but the artifact is ultimately snagged with an extravagant bid by a sultry brunette named May Bannon(Lola Forner).Back at his hotel room, he's besieged by a mountain of messages noting the arrival of Alan(Alan Tam), who he'd been in an embarrassingly dated seventies pop band called 'The Losers' with, until his jealous buddy ousted him from the group to have female band member, Lorelei(Rosamund Kwan), all to himself.In the years that have passed, Alan maintains his high profile singing career while the girl that came between them has become a major fashion designer.At one of her shows, she's set upon by machine gun-wielding kidnappers, who mow down throngs of innocent attendees in a violent hail of lead before abducting her, demanding the three remaining pieces of the legendary "Armour of God" set as a ransom for her life.Desperate, Alan convinces a reluctant Hawk to help him break into Bannon's mansion and steal back the relic for use to barter with the kidnappers, but May's father, the Count(Bozidar Smiljanic), easily foils their half-baked robbery plan.They convince him to loan them the three pieces of the fabled armour in his collection on the promise that Hawk will return them intact, with the two missing pieces as payment, and on the condition that his daughter can tag along. "Mitsubishi two-wheeling it down the steps?!!?My shouldered basket of perishables!!!" The three effortlessly infiltrate the remote monastery of a brotherhood of some particularly unhip and evil monks in the mountains, and rescue Lorelei from the stronghold, thanks to the fists, feet, and acrobatics of Hawk, unaware she's been drugged by the monks and re-programmed to gaffle back all five pieces of the Armour of God for the sinister cultists, which she does, slipping Alan a mickey and hijacking him back to hideout, in the process.Hawk is forced to re-infiltrate the stronghold to rescue his friends and steal back the relics for the wealthy count, staving off coming hordes of the brown hooded brothers with an enormous flaming pole(there's even a food fight in here somewhere) before sneaking off to snatch the armour.The only problem is there happens to be a personal bodyguard of high-kicking steroid-ripped kung fu soul sistas with metal heels standing between him and the treasure.Hawk takes quite a licking from the ladies before he manages to use the wooden construction of the balconies to break off their deadly heels and give them the hearty ass-beating they'd been so begging for.Afterwards, he's once again set upon by the entire brotherhood, but he tears open his coat to reveal that he's strapped himself with explosives, threatening to blow everything and everyone to smithereens with them(hey, that's not very gung fu of you, Hawk).After a melee of chucking sticks of dynamite in every direction, inadvertently destroying the entire ball of wax, he somehow manages to escape in the nick of time by diving from the high mountain cliff onto a hot air balloon piloted by his three friends.Roll credits over the signature Jackie Chan blooper reel and this one's in the can, boys. A martial negress' steel heels would tear Hawk asunder... if he didn't sting like he was hymenopterous and float like a Gandaberunda. Interestingly, Bo "Snowbeast" Svenson scores an uncredited cameo here as one of the monks.Chan would follow up his massive success here with a return to another lucrative series, Project A, Pt. 2(1987), and Dragons Forever and follow up to yet another of his popular series', Police Story 2, the following year.Rather than subjecting yourself to the inferior Miramax cut of the film, you're much better off seeking out Fortune Star's Armour of God boxset or Hong Kong Legends' Region 2 PAL disc instead.The featured mayhem in tonight's entry makes the action in most Bond films look like a leisurely walk to the grocery store with your grandmother in comparison.Though much of the comedy is of Chan's usual hokey variety, and the fights don't really take off until the last third of the film, there oughta be plenty of incredible stuntwork to keep your glassies glued to, in between.An excellent modern era Chan film, recommendable to any and all enthusiasts of such.Three Wops. "Dining hall full of evil monks right behind me?I'm not falling for that old one."