"One thing that really hurts the film is Wang Yu's voice."
- Mighty Peking Man
Man From Hong Kong (1975)
AKA: The Dragon Flies
Director: Jimmy Wang Yu, Brian Trenchard-Smith
Producer: Raymond Chow, John Fraser
Writer: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Action Director: Samo Hung Kam-Bo
Cast: Jimmy Wang Yu, George Lazenby, Ros Spiers, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rebecca Gilling, Samo Hung Kam-Bo (Hung Kim Po)
Running Time: 103 min.
Plot: A Hong Kong detective is called to Sydney, Australia to nail a drug lord.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: 1975's "The Man From Hong Kong" was an attempt to make an international star out of Jimmy Wang Yu. In addition to being an English language kung fu film (Australian/Golden Harvest-backed production), "The Man From Hong Kong" is essentially a James Bond rip off: It has the catchy theme song ("Sky High" by Australian rock group Jig Saw), stunning location filming (Sydney Harbour and Hong Kong... obviously), beautiful women (well, actually, they're not that beautiful, but Wang Yu still shags a couple of them), prolonged car chases (for the time, not bad at all...), gadgets (Wang Yu flying around Austrailia with a hand-glider), big explosions (are Australian cars made out of gun powder?) and over-the-top villains (one time 007 himself, George Lazenby).
Anyone who starts the film will most likely finish it. It paces well, the plot is friendly, the soundtrack is groovy, the cinematography and editing are great (Yiu-Chung Cheung won a 1975 Golden Horse Award for "Best Film Editing"... okay, I got that from the DVD cover. You gotta admit, it sounded good!) and the film's budget is decent. If there's anything this movie has over a typical Bond film, it's the excessive blood and violence which is a lot more gutsy and raw.
The fight scenes are a mixed bag... sometimes a little too long and sometimes really dull. But for some reason, during the Wang Yu vs. Lazenby finale, the martial arts choreography is a lot more crisp and direct. I got the impression that more quality time was given to this main event. Honestly, I think it's one of the best staged fights of its time. With that said, kung fu fanatics won't be let down.
Those expecting all-round goodness might be disappointed. One thing that really hurts the film is Wang Yu's voice. I'm not sure if it's really him speaking or not (his lips do synch flawlessly), but every time Wang Yu talks, the outcome of his voice/delivery is laugh-out-loud atrocious. What's even worse is that everyone else sounds fine, which makes Wang Yu stand out even more. Seriously, this film would have been 100x better if this problem was fixed.
As of many early-mid 70's Golden Harvest flicks, expect to catch well-known faces with bit parts - Yuen Biao, Corey Yuen and some extended cameos by Sammo Hung (who also choreographs this film) and Andre Morgan (Golden Harvest's white boy producer). Also in the mix is Hugh Keays-Byrne, mostly known for his role as Toe-Cutter in "Mad Max." Even though this film was filmed a couple of years before "Mad Max," he looks a lot scummier here.
"The Man Fron Kong Kong" is a good, colorful, popcorn flick that's worth watching, but nowhere near Wang Yu's best.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 6.5/10