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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Martial Arts > Australia > Exploitation > The Man From Hong Kong (1975/Region Four/4/PAL Import/Madman DVD Set)

The Man From Hong Kong (1975/Region Four/4/PAL Import/Madman DVD Set)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: B-     Film: C+



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Madman Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



As the Bond films continued their counter-culture period and competed with the Blaxploitation, Crime and Martial Arts cycles, many interesting films were made that people still have not rediscovered and one of the exploitation gems of the time is from the always-interesting Brian Trenchard-Smith.  Even when his films get silly in their acting and dialogue, films like Stunt Rock, Dead-End Drive In and Turkey Shoot are more watchable than they would otherwise be because of his knack for directing action.  The Man From Hong Kong (1975) is as ambitious as any of them and now out on a double DVD set from Madman Entertainment in Australia.


An Australian/Hong Kong co-production (their first), the film stars Jimmy Wang-Yu in his best attempt to become a big international action star, as a Hong Kong detective who has to go down under to investigate a series of murders and corruption led by an evil arms dealer (George Lazenby, the Australian James Bond, whose sole outing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a classic) who will do anything to make a buck.


The first half of the film establishes the storyline and there are some action sequences, but there is also highly-politically incorrect dialogue, bad acting and pure 1970s clothes, furniture and fashions that make this a howler early on.  Then the film starts to kick in (literally) in its second half and you have to see it to believe it.


It wants to be like a Bond film (especially The Man With The Golden Gun, with Live & Let Die, You Only Live Twice and Lazenby’s film in for good measure) and actually does a good job of approximating the period and delivering at least on the action and fight scenes more than you would expect.  Lazenby and Wang-Yu can fight as well as anyone else in the cast and they did not get along at all, so when they fight or have scenes together, the contempt is not acting and you can see it.


It is more graphic than any Bond film to that time being R-rated, but also has its share of funny moments intended, though the unintended moments far outdo those. The locations in Australia also are a plus and are made rightly be a co-star, but the action is the best and with a good supporting cast including Roger Ward, Rosalind (Ros) Spiers, Hugh Keays-Burns, Rebecca Gilling (the big TV hit Number 96, reviewed elsewhere on this site), Grant Page, Frank Thring (El Cid, Ben-Hur (1959), Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdome) and Sammo Hung, it shows off Australia’s film industry at its productive best.



The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is shot in real anamorphic 35mm Panavision and though this is a restored print, the transfer here has some softness, redness in flesh tones, detail issues and can even look pasty.  However, there are plenty of good shots throughout and the Director of Photography Russell Boyd (Ghost Rider) does some fine (and fun) compositions.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is a little compressed for its age off of the original monophonic sound stems.  The instrumental score by Noel Quinlan is not bad either.


Of course, there is the theme song Sky High by Jigsaw, a huge international Pop/Rock hit that is still played today everywhere and has been remade and sampled often since.  It appears in the opening and closing credits and is a slightly different recording than the hit version.  Too bad there is not a stereo version here somewhere.


Extras include stills, Audio Commentary led by Trenchard-Smith, Australian trailer, Hong Kong trailer, silent behind the scenes footage, Kung Fu Killer making-of featurette directed by Trenchard-Smith and Trenchard-Smith’s film Hospital’s Don’t Burn Down.



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import set exclusively from Madman at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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