|Index||2 reviews in total|
Tom Keene, cast here as Tom Keene, an agent of an unidentified United States Government department who receives his assignments through auspices of the American Embassy in Hong Kong, is but seldom out of danger during the course of this low-budget action programmer that is loaded with exciting incident but hindered by a cluttered storyline. After being handed a photograph of a dangerous gun running suspect who is purportedly supplying weapons to Chinese insurgents, Keene spots the villain, Gil Burris (Cornelius Keefe), in a gambling club accompanied by his fiancée, Trina Vidal (Wera Engels), whose beauty dazzles Tom, despite the company that she apparently is keeping. These three, along with Tom's loutish sidekick Wally (Warren Hymer) are the evident principals in the scenario, but the actual linchpin of the tale is a somewhat enigmatic Mister Wong (Tetsu Komai) whose alliance with the rounder Burris is due to flaws in judgement upon his part rather than to possessing an evil core. Wong, who comes from a village into which Burris is intending to smuggle arms, ammunition and explosives, wears a bracelet, given him by a respected elder as means of bringing good fortune to its new wearer, this ornament becoming the vector propelling the storyline as Keene, representing the Forces of Good against those of Evil, covets the unique adornment. This largely episodic location melodrama is never less than watchable, but hardly distinguished, with the work's most interesting portions being those that contain stock footage of Hong Kong, filmed during the 1920s, including live action scenes at that city's famed polo ground, although most of the film is shot upon the hoary Mack Sennett lot off Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, California, before it was acquired by Republic Pictures. This is Tom Keene's first film following his most well-known appearance, as lead in King Vidor's OUR DAILY BREAD, and he is effective and in fine physical trim as a G-Man for this picture that is dubious entertainment at best. Acting honours go to willowy and beautiful Engels, whose native bent for comedy is barely touched upon here in a movie that caused her to decide that returning to her home nation, Germany, would be preferable to continuing with her career in "Poverty Row" affairs such as this Walter Futter produced piece that was also the determining element behind director E. Mason Hopper's resolution to retire from the motion picture business. The film, although fast-moving, is poorly edited as is apparent from its release upon an Alpha DVD that includes no extras and, as it has not been remastered, there is only mediocre sound quality in addition to a good many visual elisions.
Rating a film nearly 70 years after it is made would seem like a fool's errand but I live in Hong Kong and was hoping a copy of this film would eventually surface, and it did. With nearly every cinematic cliché thrown into the mix, and a story loosely wrapped around illegal weapons and a bracelet with nine lives, it's great fun to watch even if the storyline is confusing. It doesn't matter. There are a few background scenes of old Hong Kong; the language they speak really isn't Chinese; there are almost no ethnic Chinese in the film; and the print quality is terrible. Again, it doesn't matter. It has its moments, and anyone aware of the few old films with Hong Kong themes would want to see this and compare them. Now if only Ronald Reagan's old Hong Kong film would come along ...
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