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The Man from Hong Kong (1975)


When a Hong Kong drug courier is arrested at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Inspector Fang of the Hong Kong Special Branch (Jimmy Wang Yu) comes to Sydney to handle his extradition. The local cops don’t offer much cooperation, so Fang gets help from a local journalist (Ros Spiers), as he hunts down the drug kingpin, Jack Wilton (George Lazenby).

Curator’s notes

Jimmy Wang Yu was already a veteran of the kung-fu film when he made The Man From Hong Kong. He predates Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, and though he’s not as well known in the west, this movie was made at the precise moment that Hong Kong action cinema had begun to internationalise itself. Bruce Lee had died in 1973, after starring in Hong Kong’s first coproduction with a Hollywood studio (Enter The Dragon). The Man From Hong Kong was one of many international co-productions that followed soon after, in an attempt to cash in on its success. The film is no dramatic masterpiece, but it has great energy and a series of superb action sequences, including quite possibly the best car chase in Australian cinema before Mad Max.

The director, Brian Trenchard-Smith was originally a stunt man, and that shows in the film’s many set-pieces. Indeed, there are very few sequences that are not built around a spectacular stunt. Sammo Hung, who plays the drug courier in the Ayers Rock scene (credited as Hung Kan-po) was the film’s martial arts coordinator, and Jimmy Wang Yu is credited in Hong Kong versions of the film as coordinator with Trenchard-Smith (although not in the Australian release version). The casting of former James Bond George Lazenby as a villain was unusual, but his presence made the film’s intentions clearer. This was basically a Hong Kong film, largely for the Asian market, about a kung-fu cop who could kick James Bond’s you-know-what.