know it’s a successful co-production when both the Hong Kong and Australian
leads are injured during the production. Reportedly, it was a slightly
contentious set, but at least Jimmy Wang Yu shook off his hang-gliding injuries
and George (one-and-done James Bond) Lazenby was not visibly scarred by his burns.
The important thing is Ozploitation director Brian Trenchard-Smith got his
shots. Fans will agree it was all worth it when The Man from Hong Kong (trailer here) screens during Subway Cinema’s Old School Kung Fu 2016 at the Metrograph.
was busted smuggling drugs by Australia’s two most racist cops, but he clams up,
playing the “No English” card. Inspector Fang Sing-leng of Hong Kong’s Special
Branch will make him talk—and not just because he speaks Cantonese. The trip to
Australia comes at an opportune time for Fang. It will give him a chance to
hook-up again with Caroline Thorne, the hang-gliding bombshell who crashed
landed on the Royal Police Academy grounds during the opening credits—and what credits
they are, featuring some lovely aerial photography, Inspector Fang
schooling a bunch of short short-wearing cadets in Kung Fu, and the infectiously
smooth disco hit “Sky High,” performed by the British top-40 band Jigsaw, who
would eventually evolve into the villain of the Saw franchise.
before Fang beats it out of him, everyone knows Win Chan was running drugs for
the untouchable “reputable businessman” Jack Wilton. Unfortunately, Win Chan will
not survive extradition (through no fault of Fang’s). Consequently, Fang will
make it his business to create trouble for Wilton’s fronts, including his dojo.
might have played 007, but Jimmy Wang Yu gets both girls in Man from Hong Kong, which was arguably
rather progressive for 1975, considering they were played by Anglo-Australians Ros
Spiers and Rebecca Gilling, both of whom were budding starlets who would have
long and productive careers in Australian film and television. Spiers is
particularly charismatic as Fang’s hang-gliding instructor.
combine the exploitation stylings of Trenchard-Smith, director of the original Turkey Shoot, with the fight
choreography of Sammo Hung (who also appears as Win Chan), you know you are
going to get plenty of action. Technically, it is several cuts above average,
especially the sky high cinematography of future Oscar winner Russell Boyd and
the appealingly 1970s trappings.
Wang Yu does his thing, throwing it down with authority in the massive fight
scenes. He also shows reasonably credible leading man chops, especially
opposite Speirs. As Wilton, Lazenby and his moustache are entertainingly
villainous. The ex-Bond seems to enjoy chewing the scenery in his second Golden
Harvest production, but Stoner, his
first Hong Kong outing with the awesome Angela Mao Ying, is far and away his
best (whereas, he basically phones it in during Queen’s Ransom, co-starring both Mao and Yang).
To recap, Man from Hong Kong brought
together Jimmy Wang Yu, George Lazenby, Sammo Hung, Brian Trenchard-Smith, and
Jigsaw. It all comes together pretty much exactly as you would hope and expect.
Highly recommended for martial arts fans, The
Man from Hong Kong screens today (4/9) and tomorrow (4/10) as part of this
year’s Old School Kung Fu at the Metrograph.
Labels: Australian cinema, Brian Trenchard-Smith, George Lazenby, Hong Kong Cinema, Jimmy Wang Yu, Martial arts cinema, Old School Kung Fu '16, Sammo Hung