The Man from Hong Kong (1975)
By: Jon on March 11, 2006  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Starring: Jimmy Wang Yu, George Lazenby, Roger Ward, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Ros Spiers, Rebecca Gilling, Frank Thring, Sammo Hung
Screenplay: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Country: Australia
Forget The Matrix, this is the ultimate shot in Sydney, Australian-Asian co-production, martial arts extravaganza.

A drug deal is about to go down at the foot of Ayers Rock, but the cops are ready. One of the dealers (a young Sammo Hung who choreographed the films fight sequences) is chased to the top of the rock fighting all the way, but is finally captured. Hong Kong police inspector Fang Sing Leng (Jimmy Wang Yu) is summoned to Sydney to carry out the extradition. He's sort of an Asian Dirty Harry and he beats Sammo and holds his head down a toilet until he reveals the name of the big drug supplier - Wilton (George Lazenby). On his way to court the next day for the final stage of the extradition procedure, Sammo is assassinated by one of Wilton's henchmen (played by Oz stunt guru Grant Page) who is chased and finally killed. In retaliation Wilton sends out a couple of machete wielding goons which really only serves to piss off Fang even further, and after first crashing a barbecue hosted by Wilton, he sneaks into his Kung Fu school which is actually a front for a drug running operation. Of course he gets busted while he's there and has to fight a horde of karate students resulting in quite a bit of carnage involving an assortment of sharp implements. Badly injured in the fracas, Fang is rescued by a couple of young chicks in a combi van, and is nursed back to health by Angelica (Rebecca Gilling) with the aid of her veterinarian father. Naturally they fall in love but it all ends in tragedy when Wilton unleashes more bad guys. Using a hang glider and some abseiling skills, Fang decides to finally take Wilton out by smashing into his heavily fortified penthouse apartment.To be honest, you can actually disregard the previous paragraph, the plot really doesn't matter as this film is basically just a string of chases and fights. That ain't a bad thing as the filmmakers milk the action scenes for all they're worth. For every 5 minutes of exposition we get 20 minutes of action, and I mean 20 straight minutes of action. I don't know what the record is for the longest continuous fight or chase scene in a movie but there must be a couple of contenders here, particularly the fight between Grant Page and Jimmy which commences on the street, moves into the kitchen of (naturally) a Chinese restaurant and finishes in the actual dining area but not before every piece of furniture has been destroyed. Sure the whole thing is cheesy as hell but I don't think any of the cast took it seriously either. And it certainly is a cool cast. Jimmy Wang Yu already had about 25 flicks under his belt and I guess this was an effort to present him to western audiences as the next Bruce Lee in a James Bond style adventure. So I don't think it's a coincidence to find he's pitted against ex-James Bond, George Lazenby. Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward and Rebecca Gilling were pretty fresh from the success of Oz biker flick Stone (Keays-Byrne would later reach greater heights as Toecutter in Mad Max which also featured Ward). The iconic Frank Thring gets some screen time, and you can also catch brief bits from John Orcsik and Bill Hunter. The only caveat I've got is that this is a widescreen film and of course it's presented in pan and scan on video which is a real shame but no surprise since it must be amongst the earliest batch of films to be released on tape in this country. C'mon Roadshow let's see you put this one out on DVD, there's a whole slew of great Oz flicks from the 70's and early 80's that deserve to be re-discovered and this one should be pretty high up on the list.
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