Saturday, November 18, 2006


Aces Go Places III - Our Man In Bond Street (dir Tsui Hark 1984)

We've left the Bollywood Bonds behind now - our globe-trotting trek in search of 007 doppel- gangers takes us to Hong Kong at the height of the slick, stunt-obsessed 80s. Aces Go Places III - Our Man In Bond Street couldn't be further from the film with which director Tsui Hark made his name four years earlier - the in-your-face, down and dirty Dangerous Encounters of the First Kind (aka Don't Play With Fire).

The Aces Go Places series (or Mad Missions, as they were released in the West) were wild & woolly action-comedies from Hong Kong studio Cinema City, in a similar vein to the later Jackie Chan/Sammo Hung Lucky Stars movies. They owed a huge debt to Western blockbusters such as Cannonball Run (which featured Chan in it's cast) and especially the James Bond series. Any similarities are somewhat less than coincidental in the third entry, which - aside from the blatant hint in the subtitle - includes a Sean Connery lookalike and appearances from two familiar James Bond adversaries...

Sorry to report that although many places (including the IMDB) credit him with an appearance that isn't Harold 'Oddjob' Sakata tossing the bowler in that last scene, having shuffled off to the big hat-stand in the sky two years before the film was made. Sakata did appear as the bargain-basement Bond villain in what I consider to be one of the finest examples of Bruceploitation, Bruce Le's The Ninja Strikes Back (1982), where he sports not just a goldfinger but an entire gold hand.

Back to the movie in question - next we feature a meeting between our hero Sam Hui and a tuxedoed British agent, not to mention a cameo from another iconic UK figure.

Tsui Hark, whose skillfully mounted sequel is regarded as the best of the Aces Go Places series, was supposedly relieved of his directorial duties before completing the picture, marking a turning point in his career. Already on a high from the previous years Zu, Warriors From the Magic Mountain he left behind the Cinema City studio - his home since 1981 - and formed his own production company with wife Nansun Shi.

Thats all for now fact-fans - back more with two last and decidely legendary Bondalikes! Toodles!!


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