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The Man From Hong Kong

Year: 1975
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Writer: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Cast: Wang Yu, George Lazenby, Bill Hunter, Rebecca Gibney
A gloriously kitschy action film from one of the heydays of Australian cinema. We had a Labour government that was liberally funding the arts, and artists like Peter Weir and Fred Schepisi were taking advantage of it.

And as happens when there's money to throw around, an industry expands and flexes its muscles in other genres. The martial arts action film is an anachronism in Australia right now in the early 21st century, but in the days of flared pants and orange furniture it made perfect sense. What must Sydney city dwellers (before the days of Sydney Tower or even the MLC Centre) have though of a hang glider spiralling around in the sky followed by an airborne camera crew, or an explosion trashing the top storey of the apartment building that's sat at the south end of Bennelong point forever?

Complete with bad fashion and woefully underdeveloped dialogue ('Where are you staying here in Hong Kong?', 'The Hong Kong Hotel') it was Rush Hour before Brett Ratner had even left primary school as an Asian cop comes to Sydney to put away the gang behind a drug sting.

Opening with a violent confrontation on and around Ayers Rock they'd never get permission to film nowadays, we meet the Hong Kong detective and martial arts expert (natch) who comes to Sydney to interrogate the captured suspect.

Once here, he unleashes his kind of justice; starting fights that wreck entire restaurants, summarily killing bad guys, and carrying on with behaviour that would get any real-life plod a ten-year sentence of Royal Commission paperwork.

And all the while the two local boys – one of them the funny-eyed guy who played the Toe Cutter in Mad Max – try to reign him in and do it by the book.

But the too-cool Fang Seng is having none of it, chop-sockying his way to the kingpin (George Lazenby, well on his way to the video purgatory of Emmanuelle films and other tosh) while pulling the local procedure-freaks into line with lines like 'Look, don't give me any shit'.

The whole dewey-eyed 'falling in love' on the farm accompanied by bad rock ballads, the cars that explode if you even so much as nick them, the string of bodies left in the wake of the mayhem that are never mentioned again – every cliché is present and accounted for.

Lots of long sequences of ridiculous violence, a plot that effectively sets up the next fight and a movie forever rooted in the daggy/cool seventies. Bring a huge suspension of disbelief and enjoy yourself.

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