Posts Tagged ‘Sammo Hung’

A bit of history:

Raymond Chow‘s film company Golden Harvest hit it big in the early 70’s when they discovered a certain up and coming star called Lei Siu Long aka  Bruce Lee . Their mega-fruitful collaboration hit it’s stride with Lee and Chow even forming their own partnership/ production house Concord Prouction Inc. (each owning 50%)  Way of the Dragon was a product of that collaboration, as was  Warner Bros. cooperation- Enter The Dragon. Unfortunately Lee died before the world premiere of Enter The Dragon and Golden Harvest lost it’s biggest star way too soon.

Of course Golden Harvest  would find continued success in decades to come, skyrocketing the career of Jackie Chan in the 80’s and making popular TMNT films (together with New Line Cinema). But in that strange place between Lee and Chan they continued to produce films to different varies of success.

One of those was Lo Wei‘s Slaughter In San Francisco, there to fulfill Chuck Norris‘s contract, he signed on two films when he made Way of the Dragon. Now, another famous name that had a (three) picture deal was non other than one- off Bond from Australia, George Lazenby!

Now, on Bruce’s insistence Lazenby was signed on a three picture deal. First of the films was to be Shrine of Eternal Bliss aka Stoner, the movie he was ready to make with Lee and Japanese Karate movie sensation Sonny Chiba but Lee died and Chiba dropped out soon afterword. Warner Bros. co- production money was also gone and with it’s budget severely cut Lazenby was promoted to a star.

Lazenby as the Detective Stoner, investigating a new and deadly drug! I’m still not sure if that’s the best or a worst name for a character.

 

With all the controversy surrounding  it movie was still a minor success in both Hong Kong and Europe and the Golden Harvest collaboration continued.  Next up was a unique co-production too, joint effort between Chow’s Golden Harvest and The Movie Company from Lazenby‘s native country of Australia (even thou he was being demoted to a villain) and the film was called: Man from Hong Kong aka Dragon Flies!  That was right in the middle of both Hong Kong movie boom and Australian New Wave of films so as expected the result was seriously  bizarre mix of Hong Kong action and Aussie craziness and has to be seen to be believed. Still we will try to help you out  and pinpoint some of the most entertaining bits (and there’s a lot of those).

 

Movie starts with an Aussie journalist visiting Hong Kong– by a glider  of all things! I’m just going to assume she came from Australia to Hong Kong by a glider ’cause that’s just perfect.  She almost gets arrested by Jimmy Wang Yu ( One-Armed Swordsman, The Chinese Boxer) but he decides to show her what’s so special about special units anyway- in bed!

In the meantime very suspicious (and suspiciously scarred) Sammo Hung (Enter The Dragon, My Lucky Stars, Ip Man2 ) carrying a briefcase in the bus. Hardened Aussie  Detectives Gross goes after him and after a bit of a chase at the Ayers Rock  (and a bit of a brawl too) manages to arrest him.

Shortly after Wang Yu arrives in Australia to continue with the (you guessed it) Sammo Hung case. That means he will interrogate good ol’ Sammo– and by interrogating I mean beating him into submission. I guess Chinese people  don’t believe in human rights.  And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Sammo a mysterious  assassins shots him (to prevent his from testifying I guess).

Wang Yu starts chasing him  and after a crazy pursuit they end up in the middle of a Chinese restaurant of all places!!!

We finally see the evil boss of crime and it’s (of course) non other that George Lazenby with a porno mustache to boot! He went from a Bond to a Bond villain, and it suits him well in fact. Yu contacts the journalist from the beginning of the movie– turns out the glider was borrowed from her boyfriends, she’s a bit of a slut that way.  Anyway, she takes him to the high class party where he meets Lazenby face to face.

 Did he just accuse Wong Yu that he’s yellow? That’s maybe taking it to far…
And surprisingly he finds information that the main center of the villains is the local Martial Arts Center. So he breaks into in, climbing the but it turns out the center was not so empty as he thought.  Massive showdown ensues in Martial Arts Center and continues climbing on another level against a seemingly endless number of attackers.

Of course- despite all his mastery he gets severely beaten and cut , and half dead barely manages to jump onto the first car shows up in front of the center. The Chinese lady co- driver hilariously proclaims “He is a good man, we must help him” even though she never saw him before.
They do the only  logical thing and that’s drag him to somebody who can patch him up– it turns out to be the girl’s father- veterinarian! Man, I’m starting to understand why Yu hated everyone and everything on the set.
 
She really thinks this is cute
While naively returning from the picnic ( and the obligatory picnic sex) Lazenby‘s gang attacks their car and his lady dies in a horrible explosion and he vows to get his revenge. Man,  that’s a bit excessive, he  didn’t even know her two days go!

So he does the only logical thing, borrows the glider from the journalist and uses it to break into his office by climbing down the pipes. He finds the office almost straight away and even though Lazenby is ready he is not ready for the rage of the dragon.  He manages to light him on fire and still keeps beating him ,  man- Wang Yu has no mercy at all!  And then he slips a bomb into his mouth!

 Just look at that!
The detectives wait for him outside and although grumpy at first  laugh with him at the explosion of the whole building floor and all the death that entails! Man, you get this sort of stuff only in the 70’s!

Trivia: The Man from Hong Kong was one of the subjects of highly entertaining documentary on Aussie cinematography: Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! It’s especially interesting seeing some behind the scenes like the power-strugle between the director Brian Trenchard-Smith and main actor Wang Yu who mostly wanted to direct everything himself, and his open disdain for white actresses he filmed love scenes with was definitely a bit unexpected.

 

Add to that and extremely hyped Quentin Tarantino who obviously enjoyed the movie immensely when he was about 10 years old.

Another fun bit of trivia, the other cop (one with an unruly set of hair) is actually Hugh Keays-Byrne later famous for his performance in Mad Max franchise (as a Toecutter in Mad Max and later as a Immortan Joe in Fury Road).

Also, it’s important to note  Umbrella Entertainment did a fine job of re- releasing the movie on BluRay in 2016, remastering it to 1080P HD, so if you ever want to check out the movie in best possible quality, you can order it here.

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