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Armour of God 2: Operation Condor - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Fei ying gai wak

Hong Kong 1991

Action, Comedy

Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan
Carol Cheng
Eva Cobo de Garcia
Shôko Ikeda
Alfredo Brel Sánchez
Ken Lo

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Armour of God 2: Operation Condor

Story: Adventurer and treasure hunter Jackie (Jackie Chan) has a new mission. He is supposed to find a giant treasure of gold which Nazi Germans deposited in the Sahara during World War II. For this task he gets a mysterious key and antique expert Ada (Carol Cheng) is about to lend him a helping hand. Elsa (Eva Cobo de Garcia), the granddaughter of one of the German soldiers who hid the treasure, also wants to join the adventure. Since she can be of use to Jackie he takes her with him on the trip desite the protest of Ada. But even on their trip to the Sahara the team already has to face countless difficulties. A group of Arabs tries to steal the key from them on several occasions, but even the more dangerous is a gang of mercenaries that has been hired by a man called Adolf (Alfredo Brel Sánchez) to find the treasure. Finally having arrived in the desert Jackie realizes that it isn't that easy to pinpoint the exact location of the secret military base. Luckily, they run into desert expert Momoko (Shôko Ikeda), who leads them until they eventually arrive at their destination.

Review: The sequel to the internationally successful "Armour of God" has been shot when Jackie Chan has been on the pinnacle of his career. Thankfully some of the flaws of the first installment have been ironed out. Still, this doesn't make this action comedy perfect, but it nonetheless oozes out charm and delivers innovative action and stunts nonstop. The Indiana-Jones flair has been extended by quite a lot and fits well into the movie. Furthermore, impressive international locations and ambitious sets give "Armour of God 2" an epic scale the kind of you never have seen before in a Hong Kong movie. Chan's recipe for success consisting of impressive stunts and lighthearted entertainment for the whole family works out better than ever.

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The story has never been one of Chan's strengths and accordingly we once again have to come to grips with hackneyed themes like Nazi gold in the desert and all kinds of political incorrect depiction of different cultures. Be it Arabs or Europeans there are caricatures without end. If you are aware of that you will still be able to have fun with this, but basically this kind of portrayal is questionable. At least this doesn't lead to as many awkward moments as in the prequel. On the contrary, there are in fact some pretty funny scenes. Moreover, there isn't the gruesome acting of the supporting cast that has made watching a pain. The characters may still be onedimensional, but they have charisma and turn out to be likeable. Chan being supported by no less than three women also creates a very special kind of unique dynamic.

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Every one of the supporting actresses manages to give her character something loveable, albeit in an admittedly exaggerated manner. The individuals ooze out vitality and by that keep things going in the movie. Therefore it's also easy to forgive that the encounters between the protagonists is absolutely far-fetched. Ultimately, you don't get any chance of taking a deep breath in "Armour of God 2". Really impressive to watch are the memorable set pieces which whole scenes seem to have been written for and which at times seem to be the actual stars of the film. A hotel in the desert, a bazaar or an old Nazi military base, there has been involved a lot of attention to detail and every single one of the sets is laid waste of in an appropriate fashion in the end.

Once again we get a great many of different stunts to marvel at. They are breathtaking as always, but even the more striking is the fact that this time Chan also put a lot of effort into composing innovative action scenes. With a 15 Mio. dollar budget Chan eventually exceeded the original budget tenfold, making this movie the most expensive Hong Kong movie at that time. And you can certainly tell. The effort wasn't in vain as the movie's success is proof of. Chan surely enjoys blowing things up and the action doesn't need to hide from today's movies at all. Not to mention the fight scenes, of course, which this time are put more emphasis on. As always Jackie Chan once again presents himself not as an outstanding, but more of an imaginative martial artist.

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The biggest forte of "Armour of God 2" is that action scene follows after action scene, taking you on a breakneck roller coaster ride which doesn't grant any break. All of this culminates in one giant showdown at an underground Nazi military base. That there are more fights this time suits the sequel well and the shots at the wind tunnel won't be forgotten so soon either. Yes, some of the slapstick scenes may not hit the mark, but for the most part Chan's comedy sparkles with wit which to no small degree is also thanks to the actors, who obviously enjoyed this adventure ride. The fulminant action and the fantastic sets make "Operation Condor" one of the best Chan movies of all time. Even today you can't avoid being enchanted by the charm of this action feast.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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