June 21: Junesploitation’s topic of the day — as suggested by F This Movie— is Jackie Chan! We’re excited to tackle a different genre every day, so check back and see what’s next.
Jackie Chan nearly died to make this movie for you. It wasn’t even something wild. He jumped from a tree to a ledge, the branch snapped and he cracked his skull. Most people would hide that this happened. Jackie put it in the bloopers at the end, a trick her learned from Burt Reynolds, except that instead of Burt laughing it up with his co-stars, we see people freaking out that the star of the movie just smacked his head off a rock and part of his skull went into his brain, leaving a permanent hole in his head that he now fills with a plastic plug.
Jackie plays Jackie, known as the Asian Hawk, but really just Jackie playing Indiana Jones if Indiana Jones did some of the most ill-advised stunts you’ve ever seen. He was once a singer in a band called The Losers with Alan (Alan Tam) and Lorelei (Rosamund Kwan). The band was also a love triangle and like a three-member Fleetwood Mac in Hong Kong without lyrics like “I’ll follow you down till the sound of my voice will haunt you.”
Jackie has reinvented himself as a treasure hunter, Alan is a rock star and Lorelei is a fashion designer. He’s forgotten them both — as much as he can — as he steals the sword of the Armor of God from an African tribe and sells it to May Bannon (Lola Forner, Miss Spain 1979 who is also in Project A and Meals on Wheels as well as White Apache and Scalps, two Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso movies that were made back to back), the daughter of the super-rich collector Count Bannon, a man who has most of the Armor.
Alan comes into the picture again as a cult of devil worshippers wants the Armor so that they can take over the world. He knows that Jackie is the one person who can help him and together, they visit the Count and try to steal the pieces that he has. The story of losing his girlfriend gets to the Count, who allows him to take his pieces to the cult, as long as his daughter is in charge of the mission.
The cult knows they are coming, so they brainwash Lorelei, who does the same to Alan, assembling the full Armor of God. Jackie saves them by batting four Amazons in high heels — Cynthia Rothrock was going to play one of them but the schedule changed due to Jackie’s injury — and the entire cult — who have already machine gunned an entire room of people in the movie just to show how serious they are — while wearing a vest covered with dynamite, then base jumping — Jackie actually dove from an airplane for this which is even crazier — onto a hot air balloon as the Armor is forever trapped in a cave-in.
This is actually the first Armour of God movie but was released as the second in the U.S. because, well, Miramax just did whatever they wanted. The Golden Harvest Hong Kong release is nine minutes longer than the version they released.
To explain it, I’ll just share this comment from Terry Thorne: “This is the first Armour Of God, which was released straight to video as Operation Condor 2: The Armour Of God in the US. The second one was Operation Condor: Armour of God 2, but had a theatrical release in the US as Operation Condor, so the sequel became the first one and the original became the prequel and the titles were flipped.”
Jackie Chan. Treasure. Amazon devil worshippers. Crazy flashbacks to the darkest of ages. A car that turns into a mini car designed just for Jackie. Yeah, this really has so much to love and was followed by 1991’s Operation Condor which has Jackie looking for Nazi gold and 2012’s Chinese Zodiac which sends him on the hunt for twelve treasures.