The Man From Hong Kong (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1975)

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“This movie f*****g kicks ass!” – Quentin Tarantino

Fast! Fierce! Fantastic! Nothing can stop … The Man From Hong Kong.  From maverick action film director Brian Trenchard-Smith comes this spy-flick spoof starring kung fu extraordinaire Jimmy Wang Yu!  Super cop Fang Sing Leng is an ass-kicking, bed-hopping Hong Kong James Bond with an axe to grind.  He arrives in Sydney with a mission: To bring down a mob boss (George Lazenby), woo some ladies and show the Aussies how they make a man in Hong Kong!  No wonder it smashed box office records around the globe!  Bursting with foot-to-the-floor, hi-octane car carnage and equally spectacular martial arts mayhem, The Man From Hong Kong (a.k.a The Dragon Files) is a pure, unadulterated 1970s thrill-ride from the first kick to the last crash.  This Aussie classic is finally available in North America, and not a moment too soon!

Special Features:

Sky High Edition – Package includes:

  • The Man From Hong Kong on Blu-ray or Standard DVD with over 4 hours of bonus material
  • High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the Film
  • Instant Download of the 16-track The Man From Hong Kong Soundtrack including Noel Quinlan’s 14 track Original Score and 2 versions of “Sky High” by Jigsaw
  • 27″ x 40″ Theatrical Poster autographed by Trenchard-Smith
  • Henchman-styled temporary dragon tattoos

The Man From Hong Kong is certainly no surprise candidate for the Drafthouse Films series.  The movie was included in their recent Trailer War collection and for good reason.  Trenchard-Smith’s “one dialogue scene/one action scene” format, coupled with a near total obliviousness to what stunts could be safely performed, loads the film with exciting action.  The film, Australia’s first co-production with the Hong Kong film industry, manages to successfully merge kung fu battles with Western action movie car chases, explosions and daring stunts.  As a result, The Man From Hong Kong boasts such memorable moments as a fish-hook vs. hatchet duel between Yu and Page, hang-gliding sequences over Hong Kong and Sydney, and the slow motion spectacle of George Lazenby set on fire.  Equal parts James Bond and Bruce Lee, The Man From Hong Kong delivers the best of both worlds, making it a surefire crowd-pleaser and a title in desperate need of an NTSC format release for North American film fans.

The real star of a deluxe package for The Man From Hong Kong is undoubtedly its maker, Brian Trenchard-Smith.  An erudite speaker on all things cinematic, Trenchard-Smith maintains an amazing balance between being knowledgeable at the art of film, conscientious about the social influence of his work, and altogether aware that the significance of either must always be tempered against the place of cinema as entertainment, particularly when the speaker produces genre cinema.  In this last regard, Trenchard-Smith is the most endearing, still expressing the enthusiasm of a young film fanatic and never taking himself or the form too seriously.  Originally, Trenchard-Smith conceived of The Man From Hong Kong as a potentially successful film trading on the popularity of action cinema and “crypto-fascist” heroes like James Bond and Dirty Harry.  His twist would be preying on Australia’s underlying xenophobia and making the movie’s star a Chinese cop without any concern over sexing up white Australian ladies or leaving a wide swath of property damage in his wake.  (Trenchard-Smith originally entitled the film Yellow Peril!)  Perhaps somewhat ironically, Trenchard-Smith and his crew openly recount Jimmy Wang Yu being a horrible individual, having little respect for his Australian colleagues (pulling none of his punches or kicks during fight sequences) and none for his female co-stars (going so far as to catch and eat flies between takes during kissing scenes).  In the alternative, co-star and fight coordinator Sammo Hung is spoken of with great reverence.  The candour of the director and his team is refreshing and delicious.  Trenchard-Smith’s war stories about filming car chases on unclosed roads, setting himself on fire to convince his star villain to do the same, laying on top of female actors to “help” with lighting and framing, and exploding the top floor of a highrise building to the shock and surprise of local fire services are always entertaining and a panacea to boring featurettes where cast and crew talk about how much they like each other and how cold it was on that day of shooting.  A Drafthouse Films release of The Man From Hong Kong could be everything we wish for from a special edition but are usually denied – a salacious, gossipy glimpse inside an industry where getting the shot always the most important thing (and sometimes the only thing that matters).

Chinese poster MFHKMFHK PosterThe reversible covers for Drafthouse Films releases is well suited to this Hong Kong-Australia co-production, as it provides room to use posters for both the Australian and Asian markets.  The various characters and action sequences would also lend the film well to a Mondo poster treatment.

Credits:  The back cover summary is actually cribbed from a couple different DVD releases of the film.  The audio commentary on the feature film, the additional documentary and short film, the behind-the-scenes footage, and the image gallery are all features included on the Australian PAL format DVD of The Man From Hong Kong and  could hopefully be licensed over to a North American Drafthouse Films release.  Commentaries by Brian Trenchard-Smith for the documentary and short film seemed a natural extension of these previously existing features.  The Not Quite Hollywood excerpt is included as it is very revealing about the ordeals and clashes that occurred during the film’s making and as I’ve heard that the feature commentary track is somewhat tamer in its content.  As I haven’t had an opportunity to listen to the existing commentary and as I’m unsure whether it duplicates information, I’ve also included Trenchard-Smith’s Q&A at the 2008 Fantastic Fest.  The international nature of The Man From Hong Kong and its global success means that there is a bounty of advertising tailored for various local markets.  Special features showcasing the wide array of trailers, radio-spots, posters, and other content associated with the film’s global marketing is also necessary to producing a package that does the film justice.

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2 thoughts on “The Man From Hong Kong (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1975)

  1. Anonymous July 13, 2015 / 11:02 pm

    Yes this needs to be released in The States! I love this freakin’ movie!

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