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Kick'em In The Ghoulies

"It's The Only Way To Survive"

Hong Kong Classic Review

 

Operation Condor  - 1991

A Classic from the Days of VHS


After the release of Armour of God many fans of the film wanted to see Jackie return to the roll. In 1991 that goal was met when Armour of God II Operation Condor was released.


But like so many sequels of films , would it live up to the hype?

In all honesty the shooting of Operation Condor was not smooth running  due to the shooting locations .


Though Mainly shot in Spain , Madrid and Morocco some scenes where shot in Hong Kong and elsewhere.


But I remember reading around release that the Moroccan shoot took longer then expected and it was quite a exhausting for cast and crew shooting in the Desert.


So could the Asian Hawk out do Indiana Jones once again?

Well yes as it goes. Though the story was more akin to a a Indiana Jones movie where Jackie is employed  by the Count to go in search of Gold hidden during World War 2 in a German Bunker located in a unknown location. 


Along for the ride is Historian Ada  played by Do Do Cheng .


First Jackie and Ada must get clues to where the site of the bunker is and this is done through research and discovering a a special key. 


But Jackie and Ada are not the only ones after the gold . A pair of Moroccan men who are more like a comedy duo are harassing a Young girl by the name of Elsa played by Eva Cobo .


Elsa is the grand daughter of a German soldier who went missing . Also on the trail is another Ex German soldier aptly named Adolph who is also in search of the map and key to the base.  Along with his band of Mercenaries led by Vincent Lyn.


After  rescuing Elsa Jackie connects with her and she invites herself along for the journey much to the disparagement by Ada.


Now Operation Condor has a longer running time then it's predecessor and this helps establish the characters well. By this point in to the film you know your in for a treat. 


At the time many wondered if Jackie could really pull it off and better the original . Whether it does or not is a hard one to narrow down as both films have their pros and not many Cons. 


I suppose the one thing  that stands out the most with Operation Condor is the budget was higher and it shows. The production is huge for a Hong Kong film of it's time and in fact it was the most expensive Hong Kong film at the time with a budget of around $15 Million US .


 But what about the action , well there's plenty of it and Jackie delivers on all counts . Even the opening scene where Jackie is scene stealing or should we say acquiring rare gems from a remote tribal race in a far away land is something that would be a show peace for some other films ending. 


Though Jackie is allowed to take the gems he falls foul of the tribal warriors when he drinks there sacred water. 

This results in a a huge chase as Jackie flees and has a crazy moment where he escapes down a mountain in a giant inflatable ball.


From a film perspective it's a quite a spectacle.


And the film just keeps giving , from many small encounters Jackie has with the two opposing sides which shows his ability to jump around and balance on ledges smaller then a matchstick. They are just sublime to watch.


Seeing Jackie Leap of a Motor cycle on to some hanging packing crates over a harbour is a standout moment.


Once the gang are all on there way to find the mysterious bunker in the Moroccan desert the film has that epic feel to it as if the big adventure is just starting. 


A hotel scene that has the adventurers causing a ruckus as some of their foe find them is so well thought out. from some brilliant sexual innuendo to out right comedy inter sped  with action is another scene where Jackie gets to show of his skills and his direction.  


Of note this scene was shot in Hong Kong and they shipped in the sand for filming , over four tonnes of it.


There's a also a darker side to the story , one of betrayal and of course the persistent Adolph whose mercenaries who have little value of  life run wild. 


But Jackie soon shifts this to a comical scene to brighten the mood. .


Even upon finding the location of the secret Bunker how they discover it is one of comical genius as Jackie and the gang encounter a local tribe and have to escape. 


The final of the film is magnificent and shows once again why this film cost so much to make and so long. 


Filmed in a Automotive Wind Tunnel centre the cumulative scene is a flurry of Jackie magic as he battles the mercenaries in a fight that is entwined with them trying to discover  the missing gold.  


As per usual the inclusion of Jackie's stunt team members ( Ken Lo , Mars , Bemmy Lai )  and Vincent Lyn ,  Steve Tartalia and Ken Goodmen make for some eye popping fight scenes  that are inventive and out right dangerous as they jump across platforms. 


In fact Jackie got injured in one scene where he injured his sternum when he lost grip on a chain he was using to traverse one platform to another and fell face down to the ground.  You can see this in the outtakes. 


For us in the West we had to wait till 1993 before the film was released on to VHS .  but like many fans like me I got to see the film earlier as boot legs of the film where available on VHS and must admit I possess a couple of those with the original soundtrack .


Of course when the film released in 1993 we got a nice print by Entertainment in video with a English dubbed soundtrack which other then giving us a better picture also made the film a whole new experience. 


The UK got the Hong Kong uncut print at 106 minutes , it was later released on to DVD but was just a transfer of the VHS .


The USA did get a cinema release of the film but it was not released till 1997 and had fifteen minutes of cuts. 


 It was not  till 2004 in Hong Kong when Intercontinental released a uncut remaster on DVD that a better version of the film was available .

 

Here at Kick'em in the Ghoulies  we have nearly imported that version as we still only had the VHS prints of the film to view ,even though I could transfer them to DVD.


But 2020 saw the film finally get a full blown Bluray release in the UK from those masters of cinema 88 Films.


 
 A Fresh View As Operation Condor Releases on UK Blu-Ray by 88 Films - 2020

Some times patience is a virtue and how patient have we all been in the West for a release of Operation Condor that finally does justice to the film. 

Not only that but here we have the definitive version with a unreleased longer edit of the film at 117 minutes and the original Hong Kong edit at 106 minutes all on the same disc .

And accompanied by a lovely pamphlet featuring artwork and stills from the film. 

And all courtesy of those marvellous people at 88 FILMS. 

This truly is the defining moment for Armour of God II Operation Condor .

There's No doubt many have been waiting for a version of Operation Condor like this in the West for years.

Offering Two versions with the extended cut in Cantonese with Subtitles. The Hong Kong Cut is watchable in both Cantonese and a English Dubbed soundtrack. 

As yet we have only seen Extended Cut Cantonese print of the the Blu-ray , and will give our personal view of the English dubbed version later on where I will add my view here .

I often found with the old Kong Kong Legends releases that the English Dubs where different to the original VHS releases of  the many Jackie Chan films.  

Picture wise the print is gorgeous with very little signs of the age of the film , and where watching this on a projector screen of 80 inches in quite a small room , so I am sitting no more then seven feet away and the picture is crisp.

Sound wise it was very good and through  a Dolby Digital 5.1 system all was fine. 

I love the Double sided Blu-ray case cover with new artwork and the original Hong Kong cover on the reverse side. And don't forget the slip cover as well which has the new artwork on to. 

88 Films have done the many Jackie Chan film fans proud with this release and we will be looking at other releases of theirs  shortly .

Unlike many of these new releases I was in serious need of a good print of this film , where as with many other Jackie Chan films I have various versions on VHS and Disc. 

But if your new to collecting Jackie Chan films then you can't go far wrong with the releases from 88 Films.

Review Date : February 2021

Reviewer : Sertes Nake 
 

Hong Kong remaster release on DVD 

Entertainment in Video VHS UK release Poster 

Cinema   Release poster 

 



Credits


Director - Jackie Chan


Producer - Raymond Chow / Leonard Ho


Written By - Jackie Chan / Edward Tang 


Music By - Chris Babida


Release Date - February 7th 1991


                                                                              Language - Cantonese


                                                                              Country - Hong Kong 


                                                          Running Time - 106 Minutes Standard Version


                                                                          Special Edit - 117 Minutes

 
  • *Please Note these are NOT stills taken from the Blu-Ray but from some clips I viewed on Youtube and Snapped shot them. The Blu-Ray is much better picture quality.
    *Please Note these are NOT stills taken from the Blu-Ray but from some clips I viewed on Youtube and Snapped shot them. The Blu-Ray is much better picture quality.
  • Bubbles Away
    Bubbles Away
  • Shoko Ikeda as Momoko
    Shoko Ikeda as Momoko
  • Bozidar Smiljanic as the Duke
    Bozidar Smiljanic as the Duke
  • Jackie Chan is Motorbiking
    Jackie Chan is Motorbiking
  • Left to right - Shoko Ikeda , Eva Cobo , Do Do Cheng and Jackie Chan
    Left to right - Shoko Ikeda , Eva Cobo , Do Do Cheng and Jackie Chan
  • Jackie and Vincent Lyn duke it out
    Jackie and Vincent Lyn duke it out
*Please Note these are NOT stills taken from the Blu-Ray but from some clips I viewed on Youtube and Snapped shot them. The Blu-Ray is much better picture quality.
*Please Note these are NOT stills taken from the Blu-Ray but from some clips I viewed on Youtube and Snapped shot them. The Blu-Ray is much better picture quality.
 

Jackie Chan

Martial Artist / Actor / Singer / Stuntman / Director / Philanthropist 

 The Clown Prince of Kung Fu who has starred in over one hundred films . Even in his Sixties Jackie continues to make action cinema and do the stunts. 

Vincent Lyn

Martial Artist / Actor  / Stuntman / Model

Born to a Chinese Father and British Mother is a former Kickboxing Champion , Award winning Model and Martial Arts Actor and Scholar of Chinese Medicine.
Vincent is also a 10th Degree Sash in Ling Gar Kung Fu of which origins are from his owns families Linage .

Vincent has starred opposite many of Hong Kong's finest from Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Frankie Chan and more over the years. 

Carol 'Dodo' Cheng

Actress 

 Born in 1957 Carol Do Do Cheng is a Hong Kong Film and Television actress. Her first big role was in The Return of the Condor Heroes in 1976 , Western Fans would be most familiar with her work on Operation Condor 'Armour of God II ' with Jackie Chan in 1991 , Slickers VS Killers which starred Sammo Hung as well in 1991 , Tiger Cage 2 with Donnie Yen and  ''Her Fatal Ways'' which she Won Best Actress for  both in 1990. In later years Dodo has turned to hosting Television shows and has also won awards for those as recently as 2016.

Eva Cobo

Actress

Born in 1967 Eva Cobo is a Spanish Actress  , she Starred in Operation Condor with Jackie Chan , other films Eva  is famous for are 1986 film 'Matador ' and 2005 film 'Pasos' both of which are Spanish films. 
Eva had a Daughter in 1992 who tragically died in a car accident in 2011.
She was Married shortly in 1996 and divorced in 1997.
 
 

A Rip Roaring Ride of Fight Action intertwined with Some of the Most Complex Stunts Ever Filmed and with a Story to Boot

Sertes Nake - Kick'em in the Ghoulies