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Unlike most contemporary Australian movies, 'The Man From Hong Kong' at least offered SOME entertainment value.
Coming from a background in commercial television, director Brian Trenchard - Smith was new to feature films. However, his years in the mass media had given him a keen sense of what the 'average punter' was looking for in the way of screen fun.
Subtlety is not one of this picture's strong points - clearly, it wasn't meant to be.
The script was never going to win any awards for its deeply philosophical leanings and perhaps some of the fight scenes go on a bit too long for anyone other than the keenest fans of the genre. But the pace never lets up. And what it lacks in sophistication it more than compensates for with sheer energy and a refreshingly uninhibited charm.
The use of the hang glider scenes to top and tail the movie was inspired and the final car chase was unquestionably one of the toughest and best-staged of the period.
The theme song 'Skyhigh' was, quite simply, a classic of '70s pop which, in this writer's humble opinion, sounds as good today as it did three decades ago. Now hauntingly evocative of the era, this beautifully produced and performed hit was almost sublime in terms of its striking originality. It certainly beats the hell out of the mindless, head- banging rubbish that masquerades as pop music these days.
Special credit must also go to cinematographer Russell Boyd whose highly creative twisting, turning and hoisting of his camera(s) throughout the shoot truly 'made' the whole production. Fellow Australian cinematographer Robert Krasker of 'Third Man ' fame would have tipped his sun visor to Mr Boyd.
Sydney Harbour has always provided a stunning backdrop for location filming.
As a movie mad teenager at the time, I can vividly remember the media hype that surrounded this picture. After years of being comatose, it was exciting to watch our feature film industry not only coming back to life but actually enjoying some commercial success.
In the final analysis, Brian Trenchard - Smith deserves a whacking great pat on the back of his purple corduroy suit (you know the one with the wide lapels and the flared pants ).Armed with only a modest budget, some personable actors and loads of raw enthusiasm, he crafted one hell of a fine little action flick.
In fact, in the small but endlessly fascinating world of retro cult movies which it now occupies, 'The Man From Hong Kong ' has become a legend in its own time tunnel. And deservedly so.
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