THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (1975)

The Man from Hong Kong, aka, The Dragon Files

1975, Australia

Starring: Jimmy Wang Yu (Inspector Fang Sing Leng), George Lazenby (Jack Wilton), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Morrie Grosse), Roger Ward (Bob Taylor), Sammo Kam-Bo Hung (Win Chan)

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Viewed: Streaming

Transfer Quality: Excellent transfer!

Don’t worry about what he might have said.

Don’t worry about gathering evidence..

Aww, no man…just POW!

I was all geared up to review the killer soundtrack for this, but then my damn amplifier conked out. Can’t do a proper review listening to a YouTube rip, so I decided it was a good excuse for a re-watch and review of the actual film.

Ozploitation meets Golden Harvest in this perfect marriage of unbridled action and absurdity from Dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith of Turkeyshoot and BMX Bandits fame. You certainly know you’re in for a wild ride when a two-pronged chase scene breaks out before the opening credits even roll. On the one side, drug smuggler Win Chan’s (Sammo Hung) bellbottoms are flying in hi-karate action as a narc pursues him to the top of Australia’s Uluru. On the other, a motorized chase between a helicopter and car ending in a massive explosion and the untimely demise of bad guy #2.

Enter kung fu legend Jimmy Wang Yu (One Armed Swordsman, Master of the Flying Guillotine) as inspector Fang Sing Leng—imagine Henry Silva, but Asian and with other-level martial arts skills—to extradite Win Chan to Hong Kong for justice. However, Chan is soon taken out by a sniper, and the Aussie narcs (who you’ll recognize as Mad Max’s Fifi, Roger Ward, and the Toecutter, Hugh Keays-Byrne) can’t keep a leash on the titular man from Hong Kong. It’s no slow, all go for the inspector as he mows down countless henchmen to get to the man behind it all, Jack Wilton, who kind of looks a bit like Dennis Parker in his prime.  The inspector is not just a fighter, though, he’s a lover too, with an array of uncomfortable gettin’ it on scenes to prove it.

To say this is an action movie is an understatement as it’s almost impossible to stay on top of all the car chases, kung fu battles, deep tongue lashes, and explosion after explosion after explosion. Although Sammo Hung’s character is offed pretty early in the film, he makes his indelible mark behind the scenes as the martial arts choreographer here. His top-shelf action really has an impact, as most Western movies tend to go a little soft in the kung fu department.

Legend has it that producers dropped 20% of the film’s budget on the rights to use Jigsaw’s Sky High as the theme song, but that’s a story I’ll save for when I get my amp up and running again.

In the meantime, don’t shy away from this classic…even if you have to drop $1.99 to watch it streaming.

(DC)

WAKE IN FRIGHT (1971)

Wake In Fright

1971, Australia

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Staring: Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty

Viewed: Streaming on Amazon Prime

Transfer Quality: Good enough

Man this movie is deranged and completely fucked up.  I’d seen this poster around forever, but the trailer and story line just never really grabbed me enough to give it a go.  Well last night I took a chance and gave it a shot based on not being able to find anything else to watch.  I’m glad I finally made the decision to spend the time with this weirdness.

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The story is that of a under paid schoolteacher in Australia who has been working in a remote town for the government.  When the school year ends the teacher goes on holiday trying to visit the city of Sydney to see his girlfriend. His train stops in a small Australian redneck town, and he has one night in Bundanyabba (the Yabba) and ends up getting ridiculously drunk and gambling all of his life savings away (doesn’t seem like much of a savings really).  The teacher has nowhere to stay and no money to catch another train or bus to get out of this drunken violent hell.  He ends up waking up on different people’s floors and beds after many nights of debauchery. The teacher starts hanging out with an alcoholic doctor who doesn’t believe in money (played by the infamous Donald Pleasence of Halloween).  This might be DP’s best role ever as he steals the show in this one.  I actually was wondering if the director got Pleasence completely shitfaced and just let him have at it with the character he was playing.

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The pair goes out drunkenly hunting for kangaroos with some red neck miners driving them around shooting in the bush. They chase and kill many a kangaroo.  They also drunkenly fist fight and wrestle these beautiful beasts.  Some of this film is hard to watch.  As (DC) said to me about this film when I told him I was viewing it… “Donald Pleasence is Satan in that movie”.  When (MA) asked me what film I would have as a double feature with Wake In Fright I immediately said Last House On The Left.

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LONG WEEKEND (1978)

LONG WEEKEND (1978)

Director: Colin Eggleston 

Staring John Hargreaves, Briony Behets, Mike McEwen, Cricket (the dog)

Australia

Streamed on Prime- Great Transfer

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Well this movie seems a lot longer then the hour and thirty it clocks in at.  It  takes a while for stuff to really get moving.  The last 30 minutes are when things really get good, and the last 20 practically have no dialog at all.   Make sure you watch this with the subtitles on, because you don’t want to miss anything.  The accents throw me sometimes. 

This is a story of a suburban couple who are super easy to just be disgusted by.  Its easy to hate on them. They are just awful people, and I actually don’t find myself feeling sorry for them at all at any point in the film.  They “disrespect” and destroy nature for literally no reason… and Mother Nature gets her revenge.  The couple go to the beach for a weekend and along the way kill numerous animals, carelessly start a fire on the side of the road,  throw beer bottles in the ocean, chop down trees for absolutely no reason, etc.  They continuously argue and fight with one another throughout the story.  It really is sort of clever and helps build things up for the cool ending.  I won’t spoil the film to much for you, but the ending is really cool, and to for me it was worth it all.  As my buddy Mark said to me about the film “Its grueling, but worth the watch”.   I’d tend to agree.  Its not a movie you will soon forget.  (NW)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   MA: Matt Average