August 10, 2015

The Man from Hong Kong

There's a long standing rule in the film industry; if you've had a bad experience working with someone, you lie through your teeth about how just great that person was. But while watching Not Quite Hollywood we learned that might not be the standard in Australia as filmmakers explicitly talk about Yu Wang's seething hatred of his co-workers. I've never seen so many people talk so honestly about what it was like working with a hostile star, but Wang's work on The Man from HK just scratches the surface of Wang's assholery. He's been through two divorces; one marriage ending due to domestic violence and the other he ended only after drawing out for years and finally very publicly humiliating his partner. Every article I read on him cited a different fist fight he was famous for, he just recently ended his relationship with his girlfriend 40 years his junior over her parents disapproval of the relationship, and he's the prime suspect in a murder in Taiwan that lacks enough evidence for an arrest. Knowing all these things makes watching The Man from Hong Kong strange, because you find yourself rooting for the bad guys through the whole movie. However, that doesn't change how AMAZINGLY INSANE this movie is from start to finish.

The plot unfolds something like this: A pair of Australian detectives have busted up a drug buy involving a Hong Kong drug runner (Sammo Hung) and they've called in Hong Kong Inspector Fang Sing Leng (Yu Wang) to handle the extradition. But, Inspector Leng isn't just interested in bringing a drug runner back to his home country, he want's to bring down Sydney's largest crime organization to boot. And, if he has time, maybe woo some lovely ladies, kick a ton of bad guys around, and destroy more public and private property than The Avengers. You know, whatever he can fit in a weekend.

Things to watch for: A car door almost taking out the camera and crew during an explosion. George Lazenby's frightening scene in which he is, in real life, unable to remove his flaming jacket and is burned as a result. Some insane stunts by Grant Page. A car chase that tears through a house, literally. A no-holds-barred five and a half min fight that gives the infamous They Live fight scene a run for it's money. Some fight scenes that might have had some influence on The Raid and The Raid 2.

Holy shit, is that: A really young Sammo Hung? Why yes it is.

Yup that's: Fifi and Toecutter from Mad Max as the Australian detectives on the case. (Surprisingly, this movie came out four years before the original Mad Max.)

What we learned: If your leading man hates your country, women in general, and the director especially, possibly look into a different leading man...

Now please enjoy this segment from Not Quite Hollywood on the Man from HK:

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