Any teenager growing up with a local video rental store near them during the 1980’s would of seen the shelves over filled with VHS cassette covers from the likes of Hong Kong promising non-stop action packed high adrenaline filled martial arts. Relentless Kung Fu fighting, crazy acrobatics and a barrel load of slap stick comedy. They never failed in bringing deep joy and wide opened, jaw hitting the floor shock as stunt men flew through the air smashing into all manner of bone crushing solid wall or concrete structure or propelled head first out of a bus window at full speed. These guys were incredible and we just couldn’t get enough of them.
If it had Golden Harvest productions on the cover, you just grabbed that sucker and held on tight, because you knew some other kid would come along and get his greasy fingers on it. So often you would be coming out with at least three movies for the weekend. Now Jackie Chan dominated the wish list for us teenagers and any film from 70’s and 80’s would do. Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly and Chuck Norris and all the martial artist films from the likes of the early Shaw Brothers were all top dog but this new influx of films were so super exciting.
It wasn’t long before we found the “gang”, the three brothers. Three amazing brothers in arms who popped up together. Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and my absolute favorite, Sammo Hung. These three guys featured the best entertainment and laughter you could ever imagine to see, fun titles like Wheels On Meals, Project A and Dragons Forever. And if they were not all together, you would be sure that at least two of the trio would be present, like in films Winners & Sinners, Shanghai Express and The Prodigal Son, Heart Of A Dragon and The Young Master to name a few. We tried to see everything the video shops could get hold of but one awesome one got away from me until this month!
Eastern Condors from 1987! I had never seen it on any shelves or even heard about it on the grapevine. In someways I’m very pleased it past me by because I lost my shit watching it now, all the nostalgia came rushing back as I whooped with joy and punched the air at every stunt, lapping up every single second of this viewing. Not just that, I was so surprised how much of a top rated film it is.
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung directs and stars in this re-imagined version of The Dirty Dozen set during the tail end of the Vietnam war. Sammo plays Tung Ming-sun, one of twelve Chinese American convicts selected to go on a suicidal mission to destroy a bunker filled with American hardware, missiles, guns, rocket launchers, tanks etc which had been left behind before they got out of Vietnam. The team have to put a stop to the Viet Cong getting hold of this arsenal of weapons before they could use the ammunition on innocent villagers.
Lead by Lieutenant Colonel Lam (Lam Ching-ying) he has the unfortunate task of keeping this ragtag bunch of psychos and lunatics under some kind of control. Along the way they pick up three sexy Cambodian guerrillas girls and Chieh Man-yeh aka The Weasel (Yuen Biao) and his fruit loop crazy uncle.
Can this small hotchpotch rookie army of criminals take on the might of the Viet Cong and their insane giggling psychotic General leader? You know all too well as I did that it’s not all going to go to plan. Amazing action scenes filled with the usual ridiculous mind boggling crazy stunts, jokes, gags and plenty of heroics make this an essential watch.
If like me and you missed this one first time round, then you gotta get on it. Or did you see this one back in the day. Whats your memories of this one, thoughts on the film or your nostalgia of watching these great Kung Fu films back in the day. Let me know if you wish.