The Man From Hong Kong (1975)Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Starring: Jimmy Wang-Yu, George Lazenby, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward, Sammo Hung, Grant Page, Frank Thring, Bill Hunter, Lam Ching-Wing, Corey Yuen, Yuen Biao, Ros Spiers, Rebecca Gilling
Tagline: "Don't give me any shit!"
After a fight on top of Uluru with a drug courier (Sammo Hung), narcotics officers Taylor (Roger Ward) and Grosse (Hugh Keays-Byrne) are having trouble getting any information out of him due to him only speaking Chinese (apart from "why don't you stick your head up your arse and close it after you!")
Cue hang-gliding and Jigsaw's "Sky High" over the Hong Kong skyline, where Australian journalist Caroline (Rosalind Spiers) accidentally lands in the middle of the Hong Kong Police's training ground. Luckily she meets up with Special Branch Officer Feng Seng Lung (Jimmy Wang Yu) and he breaks out the smooth moves and gets his end away.
The Australian detectives get Feng out to question the suspect as they are going after the Mr Big of Sydney, Wilton (George Lazenby) and they are expecting some results. They are none to pleased when Feng beats the snot out of him and even less pleased when the suspect gets shot dead before the extradition hearing and Feng chases after the shooter (Grant Page), only to fight to the death with him in the local Chinese restaurant.
Grosse cracks the sads in particular with Feng's methods, but Taylor seems happy just to go to the pub for a beer and let someone else to do his work for him. They do go to Wilton's office with Feng where his front-man (Frank Thring) gives them the brush-off.
In a classic Bond-like plot twist, Feng gets in touch with Caroline so he can meet Wilton in a social situation first before he goes after him. This ends badly as Wilton decides to show off and Caroline has to stand between the two to stop the carnage.
Grosse and Taylor seem to be powerless to stop Feng as he sneaks into Wilton's martial arts school to snoop around and ends up fighting everyone, while getting seriously injured himself. Luckily, he jumps on a passing van belonging to Angelica (Rebecca Gilling) who takes him up to the country to recover.
Wilton is still not happy and gets his surviving henchmen to track Feng down. After an explosion and a spectacular chase with Feng driving a Valiant Charger, the final showdown is set.
I had heard a lot about this movie, but I hadn't had the chance to see it as yet as it came out the year before I was born and I don't remember seeing it on video during the 80s.
This movie is very much a product of the 70s and would be a very different movie if made to day for various reasons. I am not going to harp on the un-PC things in the film as that is part of it's charm. Some of the Australian jokes were cut out for the US release according to Brian Trechard-Smith, such as Grosse showing his police ID to the cat and some of the dialog.
In regards to the infamous incident of George Lazenby allegedly punching Brian Trenchard-Smith, the story changes according to who tells it. Brian said that George did not punch him, but he went up to him and left himself open for a punch as he said he deserved it. In the Not Quite Hollywood documentary both Brian and George said it did come to blows.
Brian had been set on fire with the gel several times to demonstrate how safe it was, but Jimmy Wang-Yu was allegedly being a prick as he was during most of the production and put extra petrol on the jacket, causing the gel to dry out quicker and George Lazenby to get burnt.
Also according to Brian Trenchard-Smith he and Jimmy Wang Yu had problems even before the film started, leading to some poor working conditions and Wang Yu beating the shit out of them for real during the fight scenes. I have also found out Wang Yu was almost killed during the hang-gliding sequence so he might have been a bit pissed off.
The fight scenes and car chase scenes are pretty much a draw for the best parts of the movie. The fight/chase scene at Uluru will never be repeated and the car door nearly hitting the camera crew after the explosion also ads to it.
All the cars blow up after they turn over, which is kind of expected, but adds to the movie. There are several times during the car-chase scenes where things that look to be accidents are left in the film as they turned out so well. The final chase scene is one of the iconic car scenes in an Australian movie for a reason.
I have scene a large amount of kung fu movies and would say the fight scenes are up to par with most pulp martial arts movies of the period. There are some very famous Hong Kong stars in this movie in uncredited roles so that would ad to it. The blood looks a bit fake and tacky and sometimes you can see it on people before they were hit, but the fight scenes still come up pretty good overall.
It is hard to imagine a song from an Australian movie being a number one hit today, but Jigsaw's "Sky High" managed to do so after this film was released. I don't know if the soundtrack is available, but hopefully it will be included with the special edition of the DVD out soon.
I would definitely recommend checking out the DVD once the new edition is released. There is the Screensound version, but I don't know if it is still available.