Armour of God II - Operation Condor

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 films.

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 film.

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 Jackie’s 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