EASTERN CONDORS

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It’s been a hot minute since the last time I watched Eastern Condors in the late 1980’s! This goes back to the time when Eric B & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, Big Daddy Kane, & EPMD where called to order and when this skinny asian cat(Heathcliff now) held up a boom box to his shoulder with a tight t-shirt in a big badass suburban mall! VHS copies or if you had pocket change left from buying wonton noodle soup from NY Noodletown, a 2 disc VCD were called to order in Chinatown-NYC when buying my favorite Hong Kong digs! The 43rd Chamber Kung fu video shop on 43rd street in Times Square would be a backdrop just in case Chinatown rejected my offers to solicit Kung Fu action porn. Fast forwarding 20 years later, screening this film at the New York Asian Film festival in a cold & comfortable Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center on a hot & muggy summer day was clearly a treat! This Vietnam war movie directed & starred by Sammo Hung in 1987 is best seen on the big screen with the pornographic sound blazin’ in your ear! The cast is pure all stars including Sammo’s kung fu classmates Yuen Biao & Yuen Wah,wife Joyce Godenzi,Yuen Woo Ping, Cory Yuen Kwai, Kung fu great(RIP)-Lam Ching Ying,Billy Chow, & Shaw Brother great(often villain) Dick Wei! There are many others in the cast that I’m leaving out but the great fighters have been called to the stage! This movie is about a Chinese military commander played by Lam Ching Ying who is hired by the US to go on a mission to Vietnam to find & destroy ammunition & weapons of mass destruction left behind by the US Military. Lam Ching Ying is ordered to bring 12 convicts with him to help him complete this mission. This chinese dirty dozen includes Sammo & 10 other slapstick boys that can barely walk straight, & one ladies man who is like face from the A-Team! Joyce Godenzi (Sammo’s real wife) plays a Cambodian rebel that helps the chinese dirty dozen to locate the weapons of mass destruction. These 12 convicts collaborate with Vietnam outlaw played by Yuen Biao to rival against the vietcong. Eastern Condors is a classic template of modern hong kong action in it’s best birthday suit. Explosions,endless great fighting choreography between highly skilled combatants,acrobatic sequences,guns & guns, & did I mention explosions?! If you were limited to watching just one groundbreaking HK film to get a taste of 1980’s Hong Kong cinema, you might be advised to watch Eastern Condors! Sammo did a ‘boombostic’ job directing this film & it’s a shame he lost this particular flavor to his movie making fever because he never seemed to rival anything like this in his repotoire again. We would of loved to see Sammo do more military style movies with Hong Kong flare! The fighting sequences involving Yuen Biao vs Dick Wei & Billy Chow vs Sammo were spectacular! The “Fatty Dragon” was also the slimmest we’ve ever seen on screen so you know his monkey acrobatic techniques were in full effect! Sammo’s real life kung fu brothers, Yuen Biao & Yuen Wah have got to be the most martially skilled out of the “7 Little fortunes” in my opinion! Yuen Wah almost always plays a quirky-almost gay type of sinister character that can truly kick some balls! The finale fight between Yuen Wah vs Yuen Biao & then Sammo Hung vs Yuen Wah was off the meat rack, live & direct! Sammo moved like a brisk tornado sweeping all mofo’s away who were in his path! I know all you mofo’s have got this on your netflix queue by now or for you real HK film fans get your copy at your nearest Chinatown,Yesasia, or HKFlix intergalactic internet stores, you suckas! See Sammo finish off Yuen Wah with a double kick below! You didn’t think a plump Heathcliff can do that did you?!

–Mr. C (9 out of 10 ‘Nam-wiches aka Bahn Mi)

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