Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HERE'S JACKIE!: Armour of God

Armour of God
Director: Jackie Chan
Year 1986

Armour of God is a sensational action adventure film starring Jackie Chan in a legendary performance that both tested his creativity and his physical conditioning. Made in an epic scale along the lines of an Indiana Jones movie, the story takes us across some beautiful countries as Jackie searches the globe for treasures from the ancient past. With a heavy dose of James Bond-like intrigue and action, Armour of God is a fantastic roll-licking adventure that is a whole hell of a lot of fun to be swept up in and the fact that Jackie does double duty as director and star only adds to the wonderment of this film. Go Jackie, Go!

The film follows a treasure hunter by the name of Asian Hawk, who gets word that his ex-girlfriend and former band-mate, Lorelei, has been kidnapped by an evil cult of monks who have ties to a set of armor referred to as the Armour of God. Hawk teams up with Lorelei’s accident-prone fiancé Alan, a good friend of Hawk’s, in order to take on the kidnappers and bring Lorelei home and possibly retrieve the ancient artifacts that the cult is storing in their mountain fortress. As the two set out to infiltrate the monks’ stronghold, they meet a sexy young woman named May who lends a hand in bringing back Lorelei, but also has a great interest in the legendary 5 piece set of armor. Can Asian Hawk bring down this secretive cult which specializes in kidnapping and the theft of ancient artifacts? If you said yes, then you’re a genius. Let’s get this adventure started!

Jackie Chan plays the role of Asian Hawk, the fortune-hunting daredevil who defies the odds and always comes out on top. Jackie is so damn good in this movie as he amps up his charm and plays a real bad ass with a heart of gold. If there’s one person that can do the action adventure genre good it would be him, and he takes this opportunity to play a character in the mold of Indiana Jones and runs with it with everything he has. The stunt work and action set-pieces are wonderfully crafted and Jackie directs all of these insanely ambitious sequences with a professional touch and an outstandingly energetic pace. It’s no wonder that this is the film that almost cost him his life, as a stunt went horribly wrong during the production when Jackie jumped to a tree branch which snapped under his weight resulting in him falling onto the rocks below. The accident almost killed him, but he came back even stronger than ever and finished the film. Now that is a filmmaker that is damn serious about his work, and it’s that hard working mentality that makes Jackie’s films so enjoyable and fun to watch. Like all of his other roles, Asian Hawk is marvelous and the film is an absolute spectacle to behold.   

Alan Tam takes on the role of Alan, the timid and clumsy friend to Jackie’s Asian Hawk. Tam does an excellent job in portraying the anti-Jackie Chan, with his cowardice nature and zero martial arts abilities. What the role of Alan does establish in this film is a great comedic presence that counters off of Jackie Chan’s slapstick style with appealing results. The inclusion of the character of Alan and his strictly comedic approach, gives Jackie more room to be the more seriously toned hero of the film. That is not to say that Jackie doesn’t ham it up in his usual style, but the goofiness from his other roles has been scaled back a bit in order to allow Tam’s humorous character to really thrive in the comedy-filled situations. What’s also very entertaining about Tam’s role in the film is that he is enabled to showcase his pop-star cred while playing a pop-singer in the film as well.

Along with Alan Tam, the cast includes a pair of beautiful actresses in the form of Rosamund Kwan and Lola Forner. Rosamund takes on the role of Lorelei, the kidnapped young woman with the cuddliest little face in the world. She doesn’t really have much to do in this film than be a damsel in distress, but Rosamund does a commendable job with the role. As for Lola Forner’s duties, she plays the role of May, the sexy and capable femme fatale with a taste for adventure. Her character has a great deal to do in the film, as she pairs up with Jackie and Alan in order to infiltrate the monks’ secluded sanctuary in order to break out Rosamund’s character. There’s also a nice sequence of events that has Lola taking the position of sniper, as she tries to pick off the various monks that are attacking our main heroes. Lola looks amazing in the role, as usual, and she has that same fire in her performance that she had in Jackie’s other entertaining romp, the 1984 film Wheels on Meals.

Armour of God has no shortage of action as it almost runs at a constant pace, introducing new set-pieces and sequences that supercharge the narrative of the film in some very energizing ways. Right from the get go, we are introduced to Asian Hawk has he is attempting to steal an ancient relic, a sword, from a tribe of natives who are worshipping the artifact as a god. Chan jumps into action, swiping the sword from its resting place, as he attempts to dodge the rainstorm of spears that criss-cross his path in all directions. This thrilling moment is then capped off with an exhilarating chase that depicts Jackie sliding down the side of a mountain while being chased by an army of natives riding on hand crafted sleds. The sequence is both action-packed and hilarious, giving the most perfect example of Jackie Chan’s sense of cinematic style.

Now keep in mind that this is only the beginning of the film and what follows is nothing less than spectacular. From this point on we are gifted with a tremendously ambitious car chase sequence that relishes in cinema’s most insanely expansive jump that I’ve ever witnessed, to a tremendously brutal battle with an army of pissed off monks, to a skydiving stunt that has to be seen to be believed. If that wasn’t insane enough, Jackie throws in an epic battle at the end of the movie with four amazon warriors just for good measure. With the inclusion of these strange foes and their master, the Grand Wizard, you might mistaken this film for a James Bond entry or even an entertaining Eurospy gem, but this is a Jackie Chan film, just with a bunch of wacky twists that would feel quite at home within those genre trappings. If there’s one thing to be said about Armour of God, it’s that it is entertaining through and through, and that’s really all you can ask for in a good Jackie Chan film.

Armour of God is Jackie’s own personal take on adventure films the likes of Indiana Jones and James Bond. The invention of the wise-cracking and death defying Asian Hawk is a thing of beauty and the character is nothing less than outstanding. Jackie goes above and beyond the call of duty with this role and really makes it something of a spectacle as he pushes his body to the limits and thrills the audience at every turn. Even after facing a near death experience, the man still comes back and presses onward, making a film that if placed in anyone else’s hands, would have been a run of the mill actioneer that could never hold up through the test of time. Fortunately Jackie was on the case in this situation, because the movie is as strikingly potent as it was when it first hit the cinematic scene.

With a cast that supports Jackie’s wild flare for action and comedy, Alan Tam, Rosamund Kwan, and Lola Forner do an amazing job in keeping up in this fast paced movie which never lets up for a breath. Tam and Forner do an especially great job in balancing out their duties and making their characters thrive within the storyline. Aside from the acting, the general epic nature of the film is expertly crafted, giving us enough over-blown action moments combined with strange and unusual turn of events, to keep any attention deficit proned viewers from nodding off and checking out. Armour of God is a great introduction to the character of Asian Hawk and the film stands at the top of the heap of Jackie Chan’s most accomplished productions. You really can’t go wrong with this entry, it’s…..

Jackie Chan Vampire Hunter.

The Chinese Osmonds. SCARY!

My what a sexy brouch.

Once again Jackie Chan is too cool for school.

Tam makes a move for the radio. You sneaky bastard!

Lola you're ok in my book to.


This looks like one groovy cult.

Hey, I'm supposed to be the funny one.

How about a little prick.

Excellent.... let the Dungeons and Dragons games begin!

Dear Lord thank you for this awesome cult. Now let's eat!

If you can't take the heat get your ass out the kitchen.

That dude just landed on his head!

Jackie you're so cool.

What is this... a Rick James convention?

Jackie! That's no way to treat a pair of boobs!

Wendy I can fly!

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