Armour of God II - Operation
Some four years after Jackie Chan introduced the
character Asian Hawk, he returns in this film that is similarly structured
to the first and shares both some of the weaknesses and the strengths of
the original. Part of the reason that Jackie produced this sequel was because
of the box office failure of his highly underrated film Mr. Canton and
Lady Rose. He needed a hit and this film provided it, but it took an enormous
amount of time to film and was for HK extremely expensive (HK$ 115mm).
Overall, the sequel is a more enjoyable film with a lot more action sequences
throughout the film - but it still falls short of being one of his classic
Like the first one it has a number of international
settings as Jackie battles bad guys from Spain to Morocco to the Sahara.
The film has a few wonderful action set pieces and manages not to bog
down in the middle as much as the first one did. But unfortunately,
it also shares the main weakness of the first film as Jackie is again
weighed down with irritating sidekicks that are included primarily for
comic relief but do little but squabble and whine throughout the film.
Jackie Chan films can be greatly enhanced by a strong co-star/character
such as Michelle Yeoh or one of his Seven Fortune Brothers but otherwise
he would do much better just being on his own. Here, his cohorts nearly
sabotage this film.
Again, the film begins with Jackie attempting
to steal a treasure from a primitive tribe in Africa but when faced with
the prospect of a forced marriage to a highly unattractive native girl
he escapes by blowing up a huge plastic ball climbing inside and rolling
it off a high cliff into the vast emptiness below. A fun start to this
He is soon assigned a mission of tracking down
some lost Nazi gold that was buried in the desert during the Rommel campaign.
The plot though simple minded gives plenty of opportunities for some excellent
action pieces. The film has two large action numbers that are very very
good. One is your basic car chase with a number of cars chasing after
Jackie on a motorcycle but as one can imagine Jackie juices it up quite
a bit and there are a number of instances in which both Jackie and the
other stuntmen perform some insanely life-threatening stunts. The second
big set piece is at the end of the film and it is nearly a symphony of
separate pieces put together each piece getting a bit more bombastic.
In his quest for the gold, Jackie is accompanied
by DoDo Cheng a desert expert and the granddaughter (Eva Coba De Garcia)
of the Nazi who buried the gold. On the way, they pick up a hitchhiker
in Africa a Japanese female played by Ikeda Shoko. Ikeda is fine in this
film but DoDo and Eva do little but get involved in catfights and mess
up Jackies efforts to fight the bad guys. For a little while some of their
shenanigans are slightly humorous but eventually you just want Jackie
to bury them in the sand and leave them behind!
On the way to the gold they fight slave traders,
get lost in the desert and take on the villains of the film. One group
of villains is comprised of two Arabs right out of an old Tintin comic
book stereotyped to the hilt and the other group is a much nastier
set of mercenaries with an old Nazi in charge. The one thing the film really
lacks is a topnotch fighting bad guy someone to give Jackie a run for
his money and though they try to make up for this with numbers - there
is nothing like a good one on one.
The real fun begins when Jackie and crew finally
get to the site where the gold has been buried. Made up of three distinct
segments, this action finale lasts nearly 25 minutes and is great to watch.
First the group is attacked and nearly killed by a tribe of spear throwing
natives and this leads to their falling down through a hole into an underground
bunker where they discover the remains of the long dead Nazis. Soon the
mercenaries show up and Jackie has a field day fighting them all over the
place. Much of this is extremely clever and intricately choreographed.
Finally it is just Jackie and two of the bad guys Ken Lo being one
and they are trapped in a wind tunnel contraption that is simply an amazing
stunt and I am not really sure how it was done but it is very cool.
Much of this film is entertaining and it
has a few classic Jackie Chan moments in it - but the attempted comedy
often falls woefully short of laughs and the tedious interplay between
the females often breaks the rhythm and hurts the film.
The American release has some ten minutes cut
from the film - primarily more comedy and though it is suppose to be a
funny bit, I must say I don't at all mind.
My rating for this film: 7.5