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MAN FROM HONG KONG, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
When a Hong Kong drug courier is arrested at Ayers Rock, Chinese detective and kung fu expert Inspector Fang Sing Leng (Jimmy Wang Yu) is sent to Australia to handle his extradition, coming face-to-face with drug kingpin Jack Wilton (George Lazenby).

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The action starts less than four minutes into the film, as a deal at Ayers Rock (this was 1975 and that's how it was known) gets busted by Federal Narcotics Bureau strong man Bob Taylor (Roger Ward). The Bureau sends for Hong Kong's Inspector Fang Sing Leng (Jimmy Wang Yu) to help with their enquiries ... and the rest is more action. This is one of the highest profile Ozploitation films made in the 70s, and is presented here in its remastered and bonus-driven version, complete with commentary by director Brian Trenchard Smith, who is always entertaining as well as informative.

The film is one of the few Australian made kung fu action movies and is also notable for its superb cinematography by Russell Boyd - the brilliant lenser who went on to win the Oscar for his work on Master & Commander. The cast includes Hugh Keays-Byrne, one of my favourite actors of the 70s, the high-camp queen of thespian fruitery, Frank Thring (a casting quirk that pays off), the gorgeous Rebecca Gilling, Aussie icon Bill Hunter and the macho George Lazenby - plus lots of politically incorrect entertainment. That should be ENTERTAINMENT.

Brian Trenchard Smith - who also plays a feisty fighting cameo role - directs with a single purpose: to maximise every frame for audience enjoyment, whether it's a prison cell fight, a Sydney street chase or a Chinese restaurant bust up. But it's the simplicity of the way the action is shot - not to mention the comedic touches - that gives it all a high adrenalin charge. We see it all in full frame, unlike the films of the 90s and later when hand held camerawork became a fashionable alternative to disciplined choreography.

The Man From Hong Kong - the first film on which Trenchard Smith's "cinematic instincts were given open slather," he says - delivers everything it promises in escapist action entertainment, using some iconic Australian locations as a backdrop and maintaining tension throughout - except perhaps in the brief romantic interlude between Jimmy Yang Wu and Rebecca Gilling at the end of act 2 - but that has a dramatic purpose.

Brian Trenchard Smith's commentary (repurposed from the original DVD release a few years ago courtesy National Screen & Sound Archive's Kodak-assisted restoration collection) is candid and interesting. He has no immodest claims to make about the film, indeed, he makes a point of underliuning the film's B credentials. Refreshingly so.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

MAN FROM HONG KONG, THE: DVD (MA)
(Aust, 1975)

CAST: Jimmy Wang Yu, George Lazenby, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward, Ros Spiers, Rebecca Gilling, Frank Thring, Bill Hunter, Grant Page

PRODUCER: Raymond Chow, John Fraser

DIRECTOR: Brian Trenchard Smith

SCRIPT: Brian Trenchard Smith

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Russell Boyd

EDITOR: Ron Williams

MUSIC: Noel Quinlan

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Copping, Lindsay Hewson

RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0

SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc 1: Digitally remastered print; Commentary with director Brian Trenchard-Smith; Image Gallery; Original Australian trailer; Original Hong Kong trailer; Disc 2: Bonus Films: Kung Fu Killers & Hospitals Don't Burn Down; Never before seen Behind-The-Scenes footage; [English subtitles]

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

DVD RELEASE: December 3, 2008







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