Year of release: 1975

Genre: action

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Action director: Sammo Hung

Producers: Raymond Chow, John Fraser

Writer: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Editors: Ron Williams, Alan Lake

Cinematography: Russell Boyd

Music: Noel Quinlan

Stars: Jimmy Wang Yu, George Lazenby, Ros Spiers, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rebecca Gilling, Frank Thring, Bill Hunter, Sammo Hung, Corey Yuen, Lam Ching-Ying, Yuen Biao

Not rated; contains IIB-level violence and nudity

DVD Information

Company: Bonzai Media

Format: widescreen

Languages: English

Subtitles: none

Extras: director's commentary, trailer, promo/premiere footage

Notes: A very solid re-mastering of the movie. The picture is a bit soft and faded, but overall, this isn't bad for a thirty-year-old film.

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The Man from Hong Kong

The Man from Hong Kong

Long considered one of the holy grails of Hong Kong movie fans due to the fact that it was not readily available outside of Austrailia (at least from legitimate sources), The Man from Hong Kong has been recently re-mastered and released on all-region DVD, giving an all new audience (this reviewer included) a chance to check out one of the more important -- if not exactly well-known -- entries in Jimmy Wang Yu's filmography.

The film's plot is pretty simple -- Wang Yu plays Inspector Fang, who travels to Sydney to bring a drug runner (Sammo Hung) back to Hong Kong. On the way to the airport, the criminal is assassinated, and so Fang sets off to bring down Sydney's big crime boss, Wilton (one-shot Bond actor George Lazenby), much to the chagrin of the local police department. Any sort of story is really just an excuse to get to the next action sequence, of which there are plenty. Sammo Hung also handled the action direction on this production, and his touch is evident -- he even got George Lazenby (who was said to be notoriously hard to work with, which is why he only played James Bond for one movie) to do a fire stunt for the final fight.

The Man from Hong Kong

Most long-time HK movie fans know that Wang Yu wasn't as solid of an action star as some of his contemporaries, due to his coming from the sports -- rather than the martial arts -- world. But Wang Yu (under Sammo's direction) handles things fine here, and there are several scenes (such as a rambling fight through a restaurant and a car chase that manages to still be exciting even though it takes place on a nearly-deserted road) that stack up well against similar films from this period. Also, The Man from Hong Kong, for the most part, doesn't come off as dated as many films from the 1970's now do; even though the film-makers spend too much time on hang-gliding sequences, at least there's no disco dance-offs or polyester suits.

It's also interesting to note how progressive The Man from Hong Kong was (and still is) in presenting the relationship between the Eastern and Western worlds. Even though there are a few un-PC digs thrown at Fang (Wilton tells him "every Chinese I've met has a yellow streak"), it's certainly nothing like movies such as Lethal Weapon 4's infamous "flied lice" scene. Unlike every other Hong Kong crossover star, from Jackie Chan to Jet Li to Chow Yun-Fat, Wang Yu is involved with not just one, but two, women. And these are not just "a peck on the cheek" scenes -- they are full-on love scenes. In doing this, the character of Fang is elevated to something more than a castrati kung fu sifu; he becomes human. Finally, this was the first Hong Kong/Austrailian production. While it has not been a huge relationship over the years, it did lead to films down the line such as Jackie Chan's Mr. Nice Guy, which, of course, led to Chan's breaking into the American market with Rumble in the Bronx and the subsequent immigration of directors and actors to US productions.

The Man from Hong Kong