Jackie Chan stars as a tambourine player in a cheesy band, turned adventurer nicknamed Asian Hawk, whilst Alan Tam plays his former band member and former pal who ended up with the girl (Rosamund Kwan) Chan left behind for his life of derring-do. Now years later, Tam contacts Chan to help him rescue Kwan, who has been kidnapped by an evil religious cult who are searching for the title artefact, which comes in five parts and once completed supposedly holds great supernatural power. Tam has one piece, the cult have three, and another is somewhere in Spain.
It plays like a much sanitised version of the outlandish “The Seventh Curse”, and I’m no Jackie Chan fan to begin with (I prefer far less comical martial arts films), but this 1986 action/adventure/comedy from the actor-writer-director has its moments of fun nonetheless. Scripted by Edward Tang (Chan’s “Rumble in the Bronx”) from a Barry Wong (John Woo’s “Hard-Boiled”) story, the absolute highlight is a fight between Jackie and what can only be described as a throng of transsexual Tina Turner impersonators. It’s insane.
What hurts the film is pacing, it’s appallingly slow, which is a shame. Also appalling is that boom-box on wheels known as a Mitsubishi Colt Targa Concept, a one-off version that is just ridiculously dated and ugly as hell. I don’t remember anything else from the 80s looking quite so ghastly, except maybe Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon. Other than that, the film is good-looking. I can appreciate Chan’s silent movie hero Buster Keaton (I loved “Sherlock Jr.” when I saw it at Uni), but Chan himself I find irritating. He mugs for the camera way too much and the comedy to an extent takes away from the otherwise cool action. I did love that Monkees-inspired band shown at the beginning, though, with Jackie on the tambourine. It’s hilarious.
It’s watchable if silly entertainment (was it necessary for each of the six guards to have a pack of Dobermans each?), I mean, it has something for everyone here, but the pacing really does drag it down. Loved that golf cart-driving butler, though, and the action is entertaining when it comes, including some cool car and bike stunts. I guess you could say it alternates wildly between being exciting and dull, but some of it is really tops. I’m still going to stick with “The Seventh Curse”, however. Jackie fans might disagree, however. And the man nearly died making it, so you’ve got to at least respect his dedication to entertaining the fans.