Getting a fantastic 2k restoration from Arrow Films, Mercenaries from Hong Kong is an entertaining slice of action from the early 80s. This relentless film throws everything it can at the screen, and you will love it for it.
A notorious assassin (Philip Ko) must be eliminated at all costs. A mysterious tycoon’s young daughter hires a band of mercenaries in Hong Kong for this special mission, and the payoff is more wealth than they can imagine. Armed with major firepower, they journey into the jungles of Cambodia. But the mission might become impossible—it’s been booby-trapped with nasty surprises that their own employer may have set up!
If you are after a serious action film, then there is the chance that you might want to reconfigure your expectations for Mercenaries from Hong Kong. As this is a film that looks and finds the 11 on the amp and goes bananas as often as it can. There will rarely be a moment in the running time when you will not find yourself laughing or cheering. This is 80s Hong Kong action madness at its best and most ridiculous.
For 95 minutes, we have wall-to-wall mayhem, with lines like “I’m frightened by the sight of blood, I’ll get in the car. Come to me after you’ve killed him”. Well, you just know you are in for a good old time. Action is fast and over the top; weapons are almost comedically fake (the knife fight finale is amazing for this), and the acting is as over the top as you would imagine. There are plot holes bigger than the Pacific ocean, moments don’t make a lick of sense and add in the twists on top of twists, and you wonder what you have gotten yourself in for. But there is just so much to enjoy that you can’t help yourself thoroughly enjoying the film.
The fact that you can see that director Jing Wong has thrown everything imaginable into the film makes you fall in love with it. Do you want fight scenes at a base, a knife fight at a mall, and a car chase where cars do wheelies to get through a tight alleyway? Well, Mercenaries from Hong Kong is the film experience for you. There doesn’t appear to have been a moment where someone said, ‘should we do this?’. On the contrary, every idea was welcome and utilised. Come for the action, which is excellent, but stay for the insanity.
Without a doubt, if you watch Mercenaries from Hong Kong, do so with a bunch of friends. This is an essential group watch. Of course, it is daft, but goodness is it fun.
Fantasia International Film Festival is on until 3rd August, with plenty to catch. For a catch up of our reviews so far, please check out below.
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