New Hong Kong DVDs
by Jeffrey M. Anderson
The Medallion (2003, Columbia/TriStar)
With smooth, energetic direction by Gordon Chan and a love interest in
the beautiful Claire Forlani, The Medallion shapes up as one of Jackie
Chan's best American films, ranking right behind "Shanghai Noon" and its
sequel. Detective Chan teams up with Interpol agents Forlani and Lee
Evans to rescue a kidnapped boy from villain Julian Sands. The boy has
both parts of a medallion that can alter life and death. The story is a
bit ridiculous, but great fun. The disc includes 15 deleted scenes, a
commentary track by one of the producers and the editor and trailers.
Purists tend to shy away from Chan's American films, so fortunately
Fox has released five new vintage Hong Kong films in beautiful new
widescreen editions. Each comes with optional Chinese-or-English
language tracks and subtitles as well as trailers and other extras, and
each retails for a bargain price of only $10. Unfortunately, Jackie Chan
only appears in two of them and none of them are really worth writing
Duel to the Death (1982, Fox)
The amazing Ching Siu-tung (A Chinese Ghost Story, Swordsman II)
delivers some of his finest swordfight choreography in this sparse early
film, which centers around a contest between Chinese and Japanese
Eastern Condors (1986, Fox)
Sammo Hung directed this very popular Rambo-type film, which sends a
team of misfit Chinese criminals into Vietnam on a dangerous mission.
Dr. Haing S. Ngor, who won an Oscar for his performance in The Killing
Heart of Dragon (1985, Fox)
This melodrama with minimal action has to be the worst Jackie Chan movie
I've ever seen. Sammo Hung plays Chan's mentally handicapped brother who
becomes involved with the underworld when he inadvertently winds up with
a case of stolen jewelry.
In the Line of Duty 4 (1989, Fox)
The great Yuen Woo-ping directed this standard-issue cop film with some
good fight sequences. Donnie Yen (Iron Monkey) stars.
My Lucky Stars (1985, Fox)
When Jackie Chan's partner is kidnapped in Japan, it's up to Sammo Hung
and his team of stooges to rescue him. Hung directs and provides lots of
broad humor, but Chan is hardly in the film. Only a superb third-act
fight sequence featuring Chan in a house of horrors saves the picture.