Operation Condor 2: The Armour of Gods

The hallmark of this film is one of the greatest coups de cinťma ever. In a conventional setup on the edge of a cliff, The Asian Hawk is shown preparing to rappel down. As he begins, the director cuts to an obligatory long shot (half a mile away) of the gag, then slowly zooms in to show that the stunt man (half a mile in the air) is Jackie Chan.


Project A, Part 2

Project A, Part 2 is set in Hong Kong around the time Keaton was filming in Hollywood, and concludes with a citation of Steamboat Bill, Jr. signed by Chan. It is the tale of an officer in the HK Water Police who is called upon to fight corruption, pirates, spies and revolutionaries.

The style rises to Keaton almost at once amid a flurry of kung fu fighting at virtuosic speed. The great middle section shows distinctly a close study of Blake Edwardsí Pink Panther films or else arrives at the same result by the same steps.

There follows the furious flight of the framed officer handcuffed to a corrupt inspector with a length of chain between them, then the scene in the great grain mortar, preceded by the officerís speech on the political neutrality of a policeman, who is there to help those who need help.

Not only is this a masterpiece in its own right, it illuminates Keatonís dilemma for us very clearly. The circus act is one dimension of the cinematic art.

There is a thief in the darkened rooms of a British official entertaining a young lady, and the water policeman stealthily finds himself in front of a life-size group portrait with a dark background, into which he instantly blends himself (in his dark jacket) by striking a thoughtful pose, taking a few steps, musing again, etc.

The rapidity of the action is matched by the editing, which is varied, sensitive, articulated and brilliant, so that critics have had a hard time recognizing the film for what it is. There is, generally, a modulation throughout towards a modernity of personal style, and this is distinctly achieved before the final homage.


Police Story 2

Thereís no use in watching the English version with the sound on, because the dubbing is utterly amateurish and only gums up the works. Only professionals of the highest caliber, only artists could have responded to the demands of this cinematographic circus with its quicker-than-the-eye action, diamond-sharp editing, and the profusion of jokes that drop the veneer of dramatic resolution and remind you that clowns donít necessarily matriculate.

Itís impossible not to love a film that blows up a mall (after a complete evacuation). Itís a more rapid time scale than one is used to. Itís really quite artistic, and more fun than a fireworks factory on fire.


Operation Condor (Armour of God II)

At the opening, itís a question of Amazonian tribesmen laying no claim to the precious stones in their midst, but a fate worse than death befalls the visitor who quaffs their holy water. The significance of this, if it is not plain, is that the main portion of the film is a quest for buried Nazi gold in the Sahara. A punchline secures the meaning.

The American print is badly dubbed and cut by one-fourth, but it may be possible to make a few remarks. From Douglas Fairbanks, Chan springs quickly to James Bond in Madrid, but the restlessly fast-paced action is from Keaton, and so is the wind-tunnel gag (the Arab slave market echoes Valentino).

More than this it hardly seems safe to say, until a complete print can be examined, except that the opening in particular shows a proper appreciation of J. Lee Thompsonís King Solomonís Mines.


Who Am I?

With his co-director, Benny Chan, the leading actor takes an excoriating view of the black-togged guys marshaled against life as we know it, he falls out of a Ďcopter near Cape Horn and suffers amnesia, whereby heís an honorary tribesman back in the race (cross-country by automobile) and left in the lurch by the scheme to improve weapons, of which he had been a part to begin with.

An incomparably funny, serious film. It all devolves on a digital disc.