Aces Go Places III
As the beginning of Aces Go Places III begins,
King Kong (Sam Hui) is once again up to his eyeballs in dames and danger.
He is soon on top of the Eiffel Tower fighting Jaws (Richard Kiel) and
Oddjob (Harold Sakata) in quite a nifty sequence as Sam jumps from beam
to beam and finally parachutes off of it.
Though the two previous Aces films had certain
elements of the James Bond films, this one goes much further – and also
incorporates aspects of Mission Impossible (Peter Graves has a cameo).
Though a lot of this is quite enjoyable and contains some great chase scenes,
it is somewhat detrimental to the main strength of this series – the chemistry
between the three main characters. It is really the fine balance of antagonism
and friendship between them that give the films a solid basis and a great
deal of heart. As much fun as the stunts and action can be, without the
grounding of the threesome, they would be much less effective. Here though
in an apparent play for an international audience, the action, stunts and
gadgets are put first and the chemistry is pushed a bit into the background.
This is not to say that this film does not contain
a number of pleasures within – the stunts are quite fun and some of the
comedy (such as Karl Maka getting his tie stuck in the zipper of a woman’s
dress or having Sam turn the tables on Karl during a lie detector test)
are enjoyable skits. Still the film seems to be lacking the energy and
inspiration of the two first films in the series. Since Tsui Hark is directing
this sequel it is somewhat surprising because Tsui is a master of creating
emotional bonds between his characters, but here he seems to be more caught
up in the gadgets and the toys he gets to play with.
Taking place a few years after the ending of Aces
II (Karl Maka and Sylvia Chang are now married and have produced Junior
– who is as bald as his father!), Sam is once again scammed by a beautiful
woman and a gentleman who passes himself off as a British agent (sort of
a Sean Connery lookalike). He is told that the Queen’s crown has been stolen
and that he needs to steal some jewels for her. Pretty weak – but it does
create the opportunity for two great robberies.
In one Sam breaks into the police evidence room
(after establishing a brilliant alibi) and escapes on a motorized skateboard
across the tops of cars. In the other theft, a group of Santa Clauses steal
a diamond, fly through the glass skylight and then ride motorcycles off
the building. Sam escapes on a motorized hang glider that goes into the
HK subway system - with Maka holding on for dear life. Sylvia and Karl
are assigned to find the thieves and have to go after their friend. Also
making an appearance are Ricky Hui, Walter Cho and John Sham.
My rating for this film: 6.5
Distributor - Universe
The transfers for all the films in this series
are universally excellent. Crisp image and great color.
Letterbox - almost extremely so!
Trailer + previews of: Aces Go Places I &
Subs - English, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese,
Japanese, Korean, Bahasa Malaysian and Indonesian
Star files - Sam Hui, Karl Maka, Sylvia Chang
and Ringo Lam (who actually directs AGP IV).
Easy to read subs on black border beneath picture.