The Asian Hawk is back in the sequel to the film that nearly killed him, and once again, viewers are in for a wild ride as Chan now has some new partners who provide more comic relief than any reliance.
Jackie, the mercenary known as the Asian Hawk, has begun working for Bannon, an artifact collector, after unsuccessfully retrieving the Armour of God. When Jackie is hired to head to the Sahara Desert to find an alleged fortune in gold, he is aided by desert expert Ada despite his reservations. Jackie and Ada learn that the gold was hidden by the Nazis at the end of World War II. They also find a clue in Elsa, a young woman whose grandfather was one of the Nazis who hid the gold and had apparently been involved with aiding someone in poisoning the Reich to eventually retrieve the gold.
At first reluctant, Jackie and Ada bring Elsa along at the suggestion of Bannon. She arrives with the intention of clearing her grandfather’s name. Upon their arrival at the desert area, they find themselves pursued by both two bumbling terrorists, Amon and Tasza; and a band of mercenaries because they have heard about the gold and both groups see Jackie, Ada, and Elsa as their means to get the gold. Along the way, the trio meets a young Japanese woman, Momoko, who was in the area with a Peace Corps group. However, when the group all die except for Momoko, Jackie, Ada, and Elsa take Momoko with them on a race to find the gold before either Amon and Tasza; or the mercenaries arrive. However, someone unexpected is coming for the gold as well and they plan to get the fortune as well.
In 1986, Jackie Chan literally risked his life after a simple stunt went awry in Armour of God. Flash forward four years later and Chan is ready to once again pay homage to Indiana Jones in this sequel to the film. Chan this time directs the film himself and while original cohorts Alan Tam and Maria Delores Forner were both comic relief and reliable allies, it seems like Chan picked a trio of international female stars to serve as more comic fodder for him rather than use them as a reliable alliance. In other words, the chemistry between Chan and the trio seem more like The Bowery Boys than an adventure team.
However, don’t take away the fact that when necessary, Hong Kong’s Carol “DoDo” Cheng, Spain’s Eva De Cobo Garcia, and Japan’s Shoko Ikeda are not completely worthless and if the viewer does think that, blame the script. During the film’s final showdown, set in an old underground bunker, the trio of girls rely on a Three Stooges-shtick as they attempt to help Chan fight off the villains by arming themselves with old Army helmets strapped to both their heads and hands.
Perhaps as a way to complement the more comic relief of Chan’s new allies, two enemies come in the form of Amon and Tasza, played by Daniel Mintz and Jonathan Isgar. Their characters are reminiscent of Ewan Bremner’s Inspector Fox in Chan’s 2004 version of Around the World in 80 Days. They pop up occasionally to cause trouble only to find themselves on the receiving end of slapstick humor and mischief. However, the real villains come in the form of mercenaries led by American-born martial arts actor Vincent Lyn, whose character of Mark sports a very nasty burn on his face. Chan engages in quite a few fisticuffs with the likes of Bruce Fontaine, Ken Goodman, Steve Tartalia, Wayne Archer and Winston Ellis.
Once again, Chan dazzles the audiences with action scenes, including an insane chase scene where Jackie is on a motorcycle getting chased. That scene ends with one of the most insane mid-air stunts any stuntman, let along Chan, would have done. The fights in the hotel rely on both agility as well as a bit of slapstick humor with Chan resorting to distract some bad guys by taking off the towel of one of his allies. The bunker fight pitting Chan and his “Angels” against the mercenaries is both madcap and the aforementioned Stooge-ish at the same time. The final fight pits Chan against the duo of Lyn and JC Stunt Team member Ken Low in a wind tunnel. Here’s where the film gets quite insane and fun at the same time as we see this trio attempt to fight each other amidst flying back and forth into walls. Chan even does his best Superman impersonation in one piece of the film.
Armour of God II: Operation Condor is a pretty fun sequel overall, but the little flaw in Chan relying on his partners acting more like The Bowery Girls and the reliance of more slapstick kind of drags the film until redemption comes in the final act of the film.
WFG RATING: B
Golden Harvest presents a Golden Way Films production. Director: Jackie Chan. Producers: Leonard Ho and Jackie Chan. Writers: Jackie Chan, Edward Tang, and Fibe Ma. Cinematography: Arthur Wong, Cheung Yiu-Cho, and Adam Tam. Editing: Peter Cheung.
Cast: Jackie Chan, Carol Cheng, Eva de Cobo Garcia, Shoko Ikeda, Jonathan Isgar, Daniel Mintz, Vincent Lyn, Aldo Sambrell, Bruce Fontaine, Steve Tartalia, Ken Goodman, Winston Ellis, Wayne Archer, John Ladalski, Ken Low, Mark King, Charles Yeomans, Chen Chi-Hwa.