Review: ARMOUR OF GOD 龍兄虎弟 (1986) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Review: ARMOUR OF GOD 龍兄虎弟 (1986)

Review: ARMOUR OF GOD 龍兄虎弟 (1986)

In conjunction with Jackie Chan's upcoming "last big action movie", CHINESE ZODIAC (a.k.a. CZ12) which opens this Thursday, here's my review of his first "Asian Hawk" trilogy called ARMOUR OF GOD.

Jackie Chan plays Jackie, an adventure also known as the "Asian Hawk". Following from a successful mission of stealing a sword from an African tribe, he subsequently sells it at an auction to the highest bidder. Shortly after, he gets visited by his old friend, Alan (Alan Tam), who desperately needs his help to rescue Alan's girlfriend Laura (Rosamund Kwan). Apparently, she has been kidnapped by an evil cult demanding the very sword Jackie has auctioned at the first place. The sword is actually one of the five pieces of valuable armour known as the "Armour of God", and the possession is now at the hand of a wealthy Count named Barron (Bozidar Smiljanic). Jackie requests the Count for borrowing the sword to rescue Laura. The Count agrees, but on the condition that Jackie and Alan must bring along his precious daughter May (Lola Forner) along on the journey. And so, the adventure begins as they subsequently face a series of dangerous situations one after another until they end up at a mountain monastery where the evil cult are located.

REVIEW: Highly regarded as one of Jackie Chan's most popular movies ever made in his career, ARMOUR OF GOD was also his biggest box-office hit up to that point and broke all records in Hong Kong -- with a whopping gross of HK$35.4 million in its theatrical run. No doubt that ARMOUR OF GOD is an effective mix of INDIANA JONES-type action adventure with Chan's trademark of slapstick comedy and death-defying stunts. But beyond that, the movie suffers greatly from a poor script, some bad acting and incoherent pace.

ARMOUR OF GOD was particularly well-known as a movie that nearly cost Jackie his life due to an ill-timed jump that went terribly awry. While filming the supposedly simple stunt where he required to leap from a wall onto a tree, Jackie jumped and grabbed the branch. But he was unfortunate enough to find the branch broke and he fell fifteen feet to the ground below. His head hit a rock and cracked his skull open. Chan was immediately flown to the hospital and was in surgery for eight hours. Thanks to the successful surgery, he was lucky to be alive. As a result from the surgery, his injury left a permanent hole in his head and also suffered a slight hearing loss in one ear. That's why Jackie's hair was different in the opening scene. Before he injured himself, his hair was cut short. But following from the ugly mishap, he grew his usual long hair back because he felt it was his lucky charm.

As for the movie itself, it's really an average effort. Being a die-hard fan myself, I have to say the action here are spectacular and Jackie's superb acrobatic stunts are just as exciting to watch for. The opening scene, the thrilling car chase that would make a perfect fit for a James Bond movie, and a climactic finale at the mountain monastery are certainly the highlights of the movie.

But the plot is a terrible mess. The middle part is particularly a long-winded slog and dare I say, boring to the point that it's best to fast forward. Midway, there is also an attempt at comedy involving misunderstanding situations between Jackie, Alan, Laura and May. Too bad the result is rather cheesy. And don't get me started with the cringeworthy musical montage as well.

The cast is average at best. Jackie Chan is both athletic and charming as usual, especially when he comes to action sequence. Alan Tam is downright annoying, while Rosamund Kwan and former Miss Spain Lola Forner are as wooden as a piece of plank.

Remember to stick around at the movie's end credit which featured outtakes from Jackie's stunts. Among them, of course, was the aforementioned stunt during the opening scene.

Jackie Chan's daredevil stunt and his acrobatic action set-pieces are the only saving grace in this otherwise messy yet sluggish action-adventure.

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