Jackie Chan and partner Yuen Biao are in Tokyo, tracking down a bent Hong Kong cop. Thisvillain has teamed up with a Yakuza boss and his army of Ninjas, and Biao is captured. Indesperation, Chan gets hold of his superior officer and asks him to assemble his childhoodfriends. As these losers are all petty criminals, Chan reasons that they’ll be able to get close to theYakuza without being suspected.
If the above logic sounds a little shaky, it is. The storylin… is just an excuse to get SammoHung and the gang together for some really painful, old-as-the-hills knockabout comedy. JackieChan disappears after the first ten minutes, and doesn’t show up again until the last half-hour, atwhich point the action begins. The fight scenes aren’t bad, and there’s a standout appearance bybodybuilder Michiko Nishiwaki. Still, the action isn’t of a particularly special order, and thereare plenty of other Hong Kong flicks with fight scenes just as good that don’t demand you wadethrough an hour of terminally unfunny comedy to get to them.
A mixed bag. The environmental effects are quite impressive for a 1985 film, and the crowdscenes (in the subway, in the fair, and so on) are very good. There is an especially nice bit withthe sound of a fly making its way around the room. There is a bit of distortion on the Cantonesedialogue (though none on the English dubbing). The main problem involves the completelyunnecessary voice-over on the English track. This addition assumes the audience is made up ofidiots who need each plot point explained twice. Watch the film in Cantonese, and you get awhole raft of subtitles appearing when no one speaks: what you’re getting are the subtitles for thenow-absent English voice-over. The result is very irritating.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is very solid. There is very little grain, thecontrasts are strong and the colours cheerfully bright. The image is very sharp for a film almosttwenty years old. Where the age shows up is in the occasional bit of grain and flicker. The layertransition is extremely awkward, and the frozen picture shudders noticeably at this point.
The same deal as with the other Honk Kong Legends releases: the new and original trailersfor the feature, and trailers for the other films in the series. The menu’s main and special featurespages are animated and scored, while the other pages are scored.
The film certainly has its moments, but is also has plenty of longueurs. If you skip tothe last half hour for the fight scenes, it’s not like you’ll be missing a plot, characterdevelopment, or funny comedy.
Special Features List