The Man From Hong Kong and an Intro to Ozploitation

“See Jimmy Wang Yu as the cop that learned every trick in the book, then threw the book away.” How can you resist that???

The Man From Hong Kong is a 1975 Ozploitation movie directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and starring Jimmy Wang Yu. It’s basically an Australian version of Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon but the beauty of this film is in the details. Before getting into the movie, a few words about Ozploitation.

Ozploitation is a name given to Australian exploitation movies of the 70’s and 80’s. The term was actually coined by director Mark Hartley, whose documentary Not Quite Hollywood is essential viewing for shedding more light on the subject. These films were a reaction to high “art” movies that were coming out of Australia at the time and an attempt to show the world that they had more to offer than deep thoughts during picnics. Movies like Nicolas Roeg‘s Walkabout and Peter Weir‘s Picnic at Hanging Rock are great, but definitely not as fun as Ozploitation films would become. Like Hong Kong martial arts films of the 80’s and Thai films now, there was constant competition between film makers, and a need to push the envelope, particularly with death defying stunts and explosions. Stuntmen routinely risked their lives (with no insurance) to outdo each other, and the results are amazing to watch (though sometimes they did prove fatal). Out of this slew of crazy movies, which includes the Mad Max films, one man emerged as a central figure in the action side of the genre: Brian Trenchard-Smith.

Trenchard-Smith led the pack with many classics in the genre, including Turkey Shoot, Stunt Rock, Dead End Drive In and Deathcheaters. With The Man From Hong Kong he wanted to co-produce this movie with Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest studio with the specific goal of getting the film a bigger international audience. The results are not artsy in the slightest, but a lot of fun.

Warning: Trailer NSFW

“See Jimmy Wang Yu as the cop that learned every trick in the book, then threw the book away.”

The film opens with a fight on the famous Ayres Rock featuring a young Sammo Hung. The set up is a drug deal gone bad, and the sequence ends with a car explosion where the door of the car is hurtled directly at the camera. Scenes like this one are thrilling because it’s actually an exploding car, and you can tell that aside from the explosion, no one knew what was going to happen. We are then introduced to Inspector Fang Sing Leng (Jimmy Wang Yu) a special forces policeman who has been sent to Australia to question Sammo Hung, and get to the bottom of an international drug ring. Fang is a smooth talking Dirty Harry-type with one of the deepest most hilarious dubbed voice ever. He sounds like a complete badass, but looks like just a normal guy. He basically fights his way through this organization in an attempt to bring it down for good.

Some highlights include, George Lazenby fighting while on fire, Wang Yu kicking a guy off of a fast moving motorcycle, very long realistic fight sequences, and ridiculous car crashes. Noel Quinlan’s soundtrack is also amazing. The main theme “Sky High” became a hit and now appears in the Dance Dance Revolution games!
The real highlight is the sense of fun that the film presents. There’s an energy here that is rare these days, and a sense of humor that is ever-present. This film does not take itself too seriously, and so they never have to explain Wang Yu jumping 15 feet in the air over a fence, or an opponent’s pants splitting while Wang Yu throws him around a kitchen. They don’t even have to explain why Wang Yu is a big jerk to literally everyone he interacts with (although apparently that was how he acted for real).

To wrap up, this is a movie that is pure fun. Nothing deep happening, but fun enough to watch with friends. For more info on Ozploitation, definitely check out Not Quite Hollywood.

Also, this movie is hard to find, so check the internet or get Video Fan to order it…it’s worth it…trust me.

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Scott Burton

Scott Burton is a tireless composer and guitarist in Richmond. He writes reviews about obscure movies for RVANews, and he writes music about obscure movies for the avant jazz group Glows in the Dark.

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