Jackie Chan is one of my favorite comic actors out of the cinema of Hong Kong. He has, rightfully, been compared with Danny Kaye, with regards to his physical comic prowess. Having heard good things about the second film in the series, and having been amused by the first film, I popped this one on the ol’ NetFilix queue, and then promptly forgot about it. Well, having now bumped it to the top of the queue and given it a watch, I figure I might as well share my thoughts on the topic, particularly while I’m trying to expand the content of my blog to stuff that isn’t about wrestling.
Jackie reprises his role as Jackie “The Asian Hawk” from the first film in the series* (being that this film is released by Dimension Films, and dubbed into English, whatever Jackie’s character’s name was in the Hong Kong release, it’s changed to “Jackie” now), a former pop-star turned treasure hunter, after Laura (played by Rosamund Kwan), a member of his old band, the Losers, is kidnapped by an evil cult, and the 3rd member of their former band, Laura’s fiancée (and Jackie’s former romantic rival for Laura – before Jackie lost), Alan (played by Alan Tam) comes to Jackie to help him get the ransom needed to rescue her – 3 pieces of the Armor of God – the armor worn by King Arthur (which apparently includes Excalibur). This leads to a frantic chase across Europe, as our heroes get the armor and try to get the girl.
The film has a few little issues. The “historical background” given by one of the other characters to explain the armor is, a proper wallbanger. Specifically, The Dark Ages is described as being before the birth of Christ, rather then after (as the Dark Ages, when Historians used the term, was the period after the fall of the Roman Empire and before the start of the “Middle Ages” – depending on who you ask) and the Crusades are described as being during the Dark Ages, against a series of Evil Cults ™. Second, the dub is pretty poor, and unfortunately there isn’t an option for the original dub of the film. Third, for a Jackie Chan film it’s actually pretty slow. After a fight-scene during the opening credits, and the oddly edited kidnapping, we don’t get another fight scene until a half hour in.
That said, the fight scenes are very well done, including a nice bit with Jackie fighting with a flaming log, and the stunt work in general is par for the course – meaning absolutely fucking awesome. All in all, it’s an enjoyable film, and worth at least a rental.
*Technically, going by order of release in Hong Kong, “Armor of God” is the real first film in the series. “Operation Condor” was released second in Hong Kong. However, Dimension Films, for reasons which escape me, decided to release them in reverse order. That said, you can watch the films in either order and you won’t miss anything.