One would think that this kind of action/adventure film would be perfect for HK. The action genre was the bread and butter of HK films – but oddly enough none of these efforts ever really match up to the Indiana Jones films. Part of this may be simply that HK films didn’t have the necessary budget (though all these films mentioned had much higher budgets than the normal HK film) to actualize these big screen epic feeling stories. But I actually think that the reason these big adventure films never quite come off is that they lose the personalization that make HK films so special. The wonderful skills and charisma of these action actors – Jackie, Michelle and Sam Hui – seem to be dissipated on the vast canvass – their sense of humanity gets swallowed up by the budgets and grand scale of the film. So though these films are fun to watch - they never really feel like essential films to watch.
The wonderful Sam Hui never looks quite comfortable as Wisely and rarely gets to utilize his charm and sly humor – but in the many action scenes he is quite good. His friend – Teddy Robins - manipulates Wisely into helping him steal the Dragon Pearl from a secluded Buddhist temple but when Hui realizes what he has done he tries to get it back for them. The Pearl is extremely sacred to the temple and it has some strange magical powers about it. But Robins has stolen the Dragon Pearl for Ti Lung – a wealthy magnate in HK.
The film is pure adventure – rarely is a moment taken for anything else outside of a bit of flirtation between Sam and Joey. There are a number of excellent chases, solid fights and terrific locales. The story stretches from HK to Egypt to Katmandu and clearly the budget was not lacking. Some of the sets are dazzling – and the ending special effects are very cool. It's a difficult film though to take to heart - as at times it seems to be trying almost too hard to get too much on the screen.
My rating for this film: 7.0