Eastern Condors (1987) Poster

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JinxsterJones30 December 2002
This movie is awesome, it's another one that takes my breathe away every time I see it! The action just flows, Sammo has never looked fitter, even as a kid he wasn't this slim! Yuen Biao shows why at one time no one could touch him in the acrobatic action. Again, I'm a little biased with this film as the first time I saw it was my first experience of Hong Kong action on the Big Screen (happy days at the Scala, Kings Cross, Thank you Rick Baker et al). From the very start, when the late, great Lam Ching Ying (RIP, he went too early) scales the Flag Pole to the final slow zoom out hillside shot this film will hold you to your seat (unless you hate action). It's an action film fan treat all the way. SEE THIS MOVIE NOW! (preferably in subtitled form as some humour gets lost in translation!!)
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Hong Kong version of the Dirty Dozen, courtesy of Sammo Hung.
Captain_Couth19 February 2005
Eastern Condors (1986) is an awesome movie from Hong Kong Cinema legend Sammo Hung. Hung, along with his crew of usual actors remake the classic Dirty Dozen along with Full Metal Jacket. The end results is one of the best action movies ever made. From the beginning until the end, this action packed film doesn't disappoint it's intended audience and will make converts out of the non-believers.

A group of Chinese-American soldiers are given a second chance at redemption. If they complete this dangerous assignment they'll receive a full pardon and compensation money. They have to take out a cache of weapons left behind by the U.S. Army in Viet-Nam. Can this bunch destroy the weapons depot and avoid detection from the local Vietnamese military?

Lam Ching-Ying is appointed by the government to lead the rag tag soldiers into combat. Sammo Hung is second in command. Yuen Biao is a local Vietnamese resident who joins the soldiers, Yuen Wah co-stars as the ruthless Vietnamese officer who purses the soldiers to no end. Joyce Godenzi also co-stars as the leader of a small unit of freedom fighters.

Like I said before, this is a no nonsense action packed film from beginning to end. The fight scenes are amazing and the direction from Sammo Hung is pretty solid. If you enjoy action films by all means grab this one immediately.

Highest recommendation possible.
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Sammo's second best
fertilecelluloid30 December 2003
I prefer only Sammo Hung's PEDICAB DRIVER to this pic, but I'm not saying that to take anything away from the sheer brilliance of this action pic. Sammo really knows how to direct an action scene. That means he permits the audience to know where everybody is and where the "action" is moving. Unlike directors like Tony Scott, Richard Donner and Michael Bay, Sammo does not blur the dynamics of a good action scene with too many cuts and too many pointless camera moves.

Sammo is solid.

With EASTERN CONDORS you also get a film that looks amazing with its cool, green surfaces and filter-free clarity.

The plot, though simple, is not moronic, and allows for plenty of action and lots of fascinating interplay between the characters -- especially the females.

Joyce Godenzi (Mrs. Sammo Hung) met Sammo making this movie and she's really terrific in a tough, gritty part. Yuen Biao demonstrates why he was such a big star in the 70's and 80's and Sammo himself, looking lighter than ever, performs in some amazing fight sequences.

If you haven't seen many Hong Kong movies, this is a great place to start. It's one unbelievable sequence after another.

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Total action classic and one of Sammo's best
dworldeater25 November 2013
Eastern Condors has few equals in the action genre. Directed and starring Sammo Hung, Sammo turns the action to eleven in this hybrid of modern action and kung fu. Also appearing is Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah as the ever reliable villain. E.C. is Hong Kong's answer to The Dirty Dozen where a group of Chinese/American criminals go on a suicide mission to destroy a missile ammunition dump left behind by Marines in Vietnam. The tone is lighter than John Woo's Bullet In The Head, but is taken serious enough to care about the characters, move along the story and sell the abundant and insane action scenes. There is enough bonebreaking martial arts, crazy stunts, as well as a barrage of machine gunfire and explosions to please the most jaded of action fans. Overall, Eastern Condors more than delivers and I always enjoy re watching this action classic.
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An explosive martial arts action classic.
BA_Harrison29 June 2007
In the early 90s, after reading a glowing review of the film in a fanzine, I shelled out mucho dinero for a pirated un-subtitled VHS copy of Eastern Condors. And even though I didn't have a clue what was being said, the movie blew me away with its OTT gung-ho action, bullet-riddled battle scenes and unbelievable martial arts madness.

These days the film is available on DVD remastered, fully restored and subtitled, so fans of fantastic fight action have no excuse for not checking out this marvellous movie.

Director and star Sammo Hung takes the basic plot of The Dirty Dozen (a group of criminals take part in a dangerous mission with the promise of freedom if they succeed), adds a touch of The Deer Hunter and Rambo, and throws in a ton of amazing kung fu to deliver one of the best Hong Kong flicks of the 80s.

Joining Sammo on his dangerous mission (into Vietnam, to destroy a hidden US munitions dump) are the brilliant Yuen Baio (as a Vietnamese profiteer dealing in smuggled goods), Oscar winner Haing S. Ngor, Lam Ching Ying, Yuen Woo-ping, Corey Yuen, Charlie Chin, and Sammo's real-life wife, the gorgeous Joyce Godenzi. Playing nasty bad-guys out to foil the mission are Billy Chow and the fantastic Yuen Wah. With a line up like that, and Hung calling the shots, excellence is almost guaranteed.

From the moment our 'heroes' parachute into a Vietcong infested jungle, Eastern Condors is non stop brutal action and unmissable fare for those who enjoy their war films violent and unfettered by serious political comment. The bad guys are pure evil (Wah's sniggering fan-waving general is as despicable as they come) and deserve to die. End of story.

And die they do: blasted by machine guns, knifed to death in guerrilla attacks, hacked by machetes, and even killed by imaginative use of jungle flora! In a blistering finale in an underground, missile laden bunker, the surviving good-guys take on the enemy in a vicious showdown that will leave you breathless. Yuen Baio and Sammo take the spotlight in the final fight against Wah and Chow, and the result is some of the best martial arts action ever committed to film. Baio's acrobatic skills are well showcased, whilst Hung, who slimmed down in order to be able to perform more incredible stunts, is on particularly fine form.

Only the occasional 'silly' moment (such as the death of a stuttering character who dies when he fails to reach twenty before opening his parachute), and the rather strange nutter played by Haing S. Ngor (I'm still not sure what the point of his character was) stop me from giving this top marks.

But 9/10 is nothing to be sniffed at, and any fan of the genre should definitely check this one out.
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Nonstop action (and violence) from the golden age of Hong Kong cinema
gridoon20214 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Kind of an Asian cross between "The Dirty Dozen" and "Rambo II", "Eastern Condors" features wow! martial arts moves by Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and company, gunfights, explosions, and gore galore. As per usual, the action is better staged, more violent, more politically incorrect (the kids playing Russian Roulette with the captives), and more over-the-top than the American action films from the same era (the body count goes well into the hundreds). It also features one of the most badass (and thus, by definition, one of the sexiest) female characters ever to appear in a war film (Joyce Godenzi). A blast (many blasts, more accurately). *** out of 4.
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Decent movie ruined by bad dubbing.
stellan-sjolin12 March 2018
I guess its a quite good movie (for its genre), but the dubbing is really bad, even for a 80's kungfu movie, so if you got the dubbed version its only the actionscenes its bearable to watch, they are good tho. Im gonna try and find a version in the original language to watch.
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Hong Kong '80s action excellence
Leofwine_draca6 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Sammo Hung's epic Vietnam war movie is a three-genre effort that seamlessly combines hard-knuckle martial arts action with battle shoot-outs and typical Chinese comedy. It's a great, fast-moving film with plenty of action to recommend it for genre fans; all of the Vietnam movie clichés are present and correct, and used to good effect. From underwater cages to jungle warfare and a bridge that needs to be traversed, Hung is in his element and the result is an eminently rewatchable film that stands as a minor classic.

Hung famously lost a load of weight for this role and he's never been better as the lean, mean, death machine, and the machete seems to be his weapon of choice this time around – lopping heads and limbs is par for the course for Sammo in this movie. He's supported by an exquisite Yuen Biao, acting at the peak of his career, and both men are top-notch in the many martial art fights that punctuate the movie. An effective supporting cast fleshes out the rest of the roles, from Lam Ching-Ying as the heroic colonel to Haing S. Ngor (straight from THE KILLING FIELDS) as a village idiot. Also on hand is Yuen Wah as the scene-stealing giggling general; he's a particularly nasty piece of work in this one, and enjoys punishing people's muscles and bones (when you watch the film, you'll see what I mean).

The plot is taken straight from THE DIRTY DOZEN and there are some great tragic deaths that would benefit any war classic. The violence is also a lot harder than usual for a Hong Kong flick, with some truly cringe-making moments. Lots of people are shot, lots of buildings are blown up, and the twists and turns in the movie's plot are endless, so you can never predict what's going to happen at any one time. As is typical for a Hong Kong flick, the finale is a huge set-piece in a munitions warehouse, featuring Biao and Hung battling it out with the ubiquitous Dick Wei, Billy Chow, Yasuaki Kurata, and Yuen Wah's surprisingly sprightly mega-villain. EASTERN CONDORS is a perfect treat for action fans and really can't be bettered.
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War Birds
hellraiser730 November 2015
This is one of my favorite martial arts films, it's also my third favorite film from one of my favorite martial artists Sammo Hung whom also of course directed this film and I must say he really outdid him self once again.

Not a lot to say, the plot line is pretty simple as it's rag tag solders sent on a secret mission during wartime. It's pretty much "The Dirty Dozen" mixed in with a little "James Bond", I know it's kinda a crazy combo but this is a movie that is a little in the pulp action route so it doesn't take itself too seriously.

The production value is great, I really love the use of the jungle location with all the dirt, grit, darkness, tall grass, trees, darkness, you name it. Even the music I thought was very good there is a good song or two. The pacing is solid, the film isn't too long so there's no lagging.

The Condor platoon characters are solid, they all have unique persona's, a hint of depth and they do have good chemistry and even moments of humor which makes us kinda care about them. Though the characters that stand out for me are the two characters played by none other than Sammo Hung and Yuen Bieo, and the character Benny whom has those Phil Silvers like glasses he was really funny, as he says my favorite quote in the film in the end which made me crack up. But there are even moments of tragedy when we see certain characters die, which can be really sad but this just goes to show how war is hell.

However were in this film for the action and it delivers it real well. From the shootouts but most importantly the Martial arts sequences both well chorigraphed, Sammo as usual delivers with his strong kung fu and Yuen his kung fun and gymnast skills which are just excellent. I like some of the jungle skirmishes one of them of course is one of my favorite battles is the stealth combat sequence where both Sammo and Yuen have to take out the enemy soilders one by one, this obviously takes it's cue from the stelth action sequences in both "Rambo 2 and 3" but all the same it was a lot of fun and suspenseful. There are plenty of creative ways they dispatch the soilders, my favorite one was where Sammo uses some tall reeds and then shoots out the branch ends of them like harpoons toward each of the enemy soilders. That wouldn't work in real life but it was fun and really cool to think it could.

but my favorite action sequence in the film which of course is one of my favorite battles and another of one fights of all time is in the hidden base of the enemies. Love how they utilize the hide out as their battle ground and the set pieces they used, but I really love the one on one battle with the main enemy whom looks like a James Bond villain, he practically has the Dr.No outfit. This guy just has some of really good moves, here he seems to have some gripping power which I'll admit is unusual but kinda interesting, when ever he attacks he's always trying to get his opponents into his grip of death when in one instance it look as though he was going to crush or rip Yuen's face off; this really give both Sammo and Yuen a run for their money in the fight.

Well that's really it, if your a fan of Sammo then this film is worth the flight. Eastern Condors flies high.

Rating: 3 and a half stars
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winner5528 June 2006
This is the original "balls-to-the-wall" Hong Kong action film. really, once the ex-con commandos parachute into Vietnam to dispose of a hidden arsenal the US left behind during the pull-out, the action never stops. Shootings, stabbing, explosions, and wild kung fu - with almost no discernible wire-works - the film is virtually one violent confrontation after another.

which of course is the weakness of the film. Although Sammo Hung became known as a director thanks largely to an exquisite sense of the comedic, the comic touches here get swamped by the action. also, we never get to know any of these fighters very well - character development reduces to a selection of whatever cliché would fit a character if the character had a personality. None of them do. And finally I have to remark that what little drama there really is in the film, is all pretty grim.

Still, this film is not, in the last analysis, about drama, character, or humor; it sets out to be THE action film of its decade. Whether it succeeds or not is debatable; but it certainly makes the right effort for it.
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An action packed kung-fu military film
Ryan_McLelland1 May 2007
Just after the Vietnam War the U.S. Government decides to send a group of Chinese soldiers back into 'Nam to recover some munitions long stolen by the VC. Part of this group are convicted soldiers who are relieved of their sentence should they complete the mission. But when the mission is scrubbed at the point where half the soldiers have already jumped off the plane, the misfit crew must complete the unofficial mission regardless.

Fans of the kung-fu genre will certainly find other films with better martial arts, but the kung-fu within this film is superbly done. This is because of sequences put together by stars Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. Sammon Hung (Magnificient Butcher, Warriors Two, Dragons Forever) stars and directs this military film and is probably in the best shape of his career here, looking very fit and limber as the leader of the crew. Yuen Biao (Knockabout, Prodigal Son, Dragons Forever) plays a villager who ends up helping the troops when they come to rescue his uncle. With Yuen Biao aboard you know that you are going to see some amazing martial arts action as one of the best of all time pulls off some amazing aerial moves.

For those who follow kung-fu film history, this film certainly is interesting as it brings together many from the Peking Opera House (the China Drama Academy) where Sammo, Biao, and Jackie Chan were schoolmates. Yuen Wah, the ultimate bad guy seen recently as Landlord in Kung Fu Hustle, and Corey Yuen (who went by Yuen Kwai in his old Opera House days - and rarely acts since he's an acclaimed director of such films as The Transporter) also went to school at the same time as Jackie, Sammo, and Biao. Yuen Woo-Ping, the acclaimed actor/action coordinator of films like The Matrix, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Iron Monkey also attended the same school years earlier. Woo-Ping makes a rare acting appearance here and is pretty damn funny throughout the film providing some comic relief.

The film certainly isn't original with many plot devices from films like Deer Hunter and Dirty Dozen. However the action comes near non-stop and the great cast help push the film quickly along. The kung-fu moments do come few and far between but those fights are worth it to see Sammo and Biao performing some amazing martial arts.
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kkmwills7 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I rank THE DIRTY DOZEN and MAGNIFICENT SEVEN as a tie for my favorite overall movie; This Chinese offering is a very close second or third.

While Sammo is using a basic pattern from the DOZEN (military cons to do-good for their country for personal freedom), he added some elements that I absolutely fell for and love no matter what anyone says.

The three female resistance fighters have to be some of the toughest gals on film, period. Sammo's leaf weapon! A small bit by Dr. Haing S. Ngor! The eventual comradeship the growing and shrinking group had. It was corny and cheesy, but in this combination, it worked, at least for me.

I give it a 8 due to how much more it was than advertised. You go in thinking it's gonna be IL' Sammo giving us a bunch of great kung-fu, which he does, but the movie catches you up ,like TDD or TMS, and gets you to care about whether this group survives to the end.

And if Wah Yuen is the general I'm thinking of, why isn't he a legend here, in the US? The tiny, skinny man who can kick anyone's ass is an amazing guy to watch and I've enjoyed him in several films. He's equally wonderful as the villain in this film.

I first saw this on VHS bought at a "nice price" and low expectations. I have become a Sammo Hung convert as a result. This is very much worth at least one viewing, though it is very HK with the gore and realistic war injuries. This is totally not for those with weak stomachs.
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"Dirty Dozen" Hongkong-style
Pucki20 April 1999
A bunch of chinese-american prisoners is sent to Vietnam after the war has ended to destroy an ammo depot deep in the vietnamese jungle. Intended just as camouflage for the real commando mission they soon have to do the job on their own and for most of them it will be their final mission.

This is, by all means, the best of Sammo's directorial efforts (including his collaborations with Jackie Chan). The action-adventure is well-paced, well acted (even if Haing S. Ngor's acting is a bit campy) and has all trademark-action scenes we are meanwhile used to see from John Woo - and with a nice touch of Sammo's kind of humour. The final showdown in the subterranean missile depot is a must-see, alone for the great set design (but the fight scenes are terrific, too).
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This film is worth buying for the final fight alone
cauwboy15 June 2020
I wasn't sure why this film didn't work as well for me as with other films with and by Sammo Hung. It's a Hong Kong version of The Dirty Dozen, collect a group of criminals and send them on a suicide mission in Vietnam. There's a reason why The Dirty Dozen is 2h 30min long, it spends half of its time introducing each of the characters and make you actually care about them when it's time for the actual mission. This film throws us right into the mission with a quick introduction of each character with a freeze frame and a letters printing out their name and the crime they're in prison for. You can also tell that this film is much more serious than Sammo's other films, still, there's a really strange kind of comedy throughout the film, one with a stuttering prisoner that made me cringe a bit and also the Lucky Star actor Charlie Chin, constantly flirting with the ladies.

But what we lose in plot, we get back in the action. The usage of firearms reminds me more of films like Rambo: First Blood Part II or Commando, loads of shooting, very macho and big guns in each arm while they kept on killing enemies. I couldn't say I cared too much how much firepower was used during the film, it somehow felt wrong to see Sammo shoot his enemies with guns. But we also get lots of martial art in the film and when Yuen Biao joins the gang as a local vietnamese who happens to be just as amazing at fighting as Sammo. The Killing Fields' Haing S. Ngor have a small role in the film as well, but I felt like the film didn't know how to use him, so his role was sadly forgotten in the end for what could've brought some more depth to it.

If you could rate different acts of the film alone, the third act is what would get 10 out of 10 stars from me, introducing late in the film the Giggling General (yes, he's named that here on imdb too) played by Wah Yuen, an actor I usually relate to comedies like Kung Fu Hustle, but here he's really creepy, and that giggling starts as something silly and funny soon turns into something very scary and dangerous. The extended fight scene between him and Yuen and Sammo gave me goosebumps, it was amazingly choreographed and the part where you could see Sammo's directing pay off the most.

Sadly the first acts drags the films rating down for me, but watch it for the final fight, it's well worth it. And like pretty much all other 80's HK action films, this one is just over 90 minutes long so it's a quick watch.
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Silly, action-packed fun
nostromo-29-25608717 February 2018
I recommend watching this with friends while drinking, partly because although it's supposed to have *some* comic relief, all the funniest elements are unintentional, including bizarrely out-of-place dubbed accents and the villain's ridiculous laugh. (In other words, watch the english dub rather than the original subbed.) The action is great and there's a lot of it, in the final act there's literally something exploding or being machine gunned, or both, on screen at all times. Rounding things off is better-than-it-needed-to-be music which drips 80's action film aesthetic, it sounds a bit like Vangelis at points.
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Some nifty shoot-em-up sequences and decent martial arts choreography and you've got a way to fill 90 minutes.
oneguyrambling13 April 2011
Sammo Hung wasn't just the fat guy with the scar on his lip who hung around Jackie Chan (and directed some of his lesser films). He also made a large number of films in which he was either the star, the director, or both.

Eastern Condors is one of the better ones, but in saying that it is by no means a classic. Perhaps he needed to hang around with Jackie more than he would have liked to admit.

Eastern Condors is a Dirty Dozen style flick, only with more martial arts and more spectacular falls to death. 12 Chinese-American prisoners are released deep behind enemy lines in Vietnam.

Their mission: to save some prisoners and destroy a large arms stash.

Their reward: US citizenship, cash and release from prison.

Their initial liaison with the Cambodian underground introduces them to three hard-core chickies covered in camouflage and kicking much arse. Speaking of arse, one of the early feature kills happens to be a knife plunged deep in the unsuspecting anus of a man who unfortunately happened to be upside down at the time… You heard me.

Sammo is the super-cool all business all the time dude, there are a bunch of other guys of course with their own idiosyncracies and quirks, including a memorable but cheesy joke involving the parachuting mishap of a compulsive stutterer, and as they progress through the mission some of the good guys drop off, a lot of sh*t blows up and victims leap away from the explosions.

There are many running battles, some in the jungle, some on the waterfront and the finale in an underground bunker. Some of the violence is less stylised and a little more realistic, mainly the violence involving knives, but aside from a couple of exceptions the tone is reasonably light. One notable exception: at one point they are sold out and captured, and there is a disturbing scene involving kids no older than 8 playing Russian Roulette with the lives of the prisoners prior to their escape.

There are many actors that are familiar from various Jackie Chan films made through the 90s, including Yuen Biao in the role of a "street-wise" (even though there are no streets) local who is co-opted to help – and who may or may not be trustworthy. But the unfortunate thing is that the first decent martial arts fight arrives with less than 10 minutes to go in the film.

The bulk of the action is weapons based with the action-flick staple of the bad guys having an accuracy rate of 0.000003% and the good guys 99.68%.

Look I liked the film but… If this was made in the US it would be seen as B grade sub-Rambo cheese, because it was made in Asia -and cast full of Asian actors it is somehow afforded more favourable treatment. This is no Jackie Chan, this isn't even Jackie Chan – Lite, it is standard sub-Rambo cheese, only apparently subtitles add credibility.

Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. An action flick without much worthy of special note. Some nifty shoot-em-up sequences and decent martial arts choreography and you've got a way to fill 90 minutes.
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DrunkenMaster20002 August 2004
I broke it down: Why I think Eastern Condors in the greatest film ever made - here it goes (keep in mind this is a very personal break down):

1- 100 years of film-making (give or take a few years) = Dozens and dozens of different film genres.

2- Dozens and dozens of different film genres = The action genre being the greatest of all genres.

3- The action genre being the greatest of all genres = Hong Kong being the greatest of all countries to make action films.

4- Hong Kong being the greatest of all countries to make action films Sammo Hung being the greatest Hong Kong Action Director.

5- Sammo Hung being the greatest Hong Kong Action Director = Eastern Condors being Sammo's greatest achievement.

Think about this: John Woo created some of the greatest Gun-Fu moments in cinematic history, however is hand-to-hand combat is slighting boring. Jackie Chan has certainly created some of the greatest Kung-Fu moments ever, but his films become boring once anyone picks up a gun. Sammo Hung is the only filmmaker who can blend both elements of Gun-Fu and Kung-Fu in one movie and make each style equally entertaining to watch. Eastern Condors is the best example of this. Another reason why: EASTERN CONDORS IS THE GREATEST FILM EVER MADE!
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A cross between the Dirty Dozen, the Deer Hunter, with a James Bond ending
The-Sarkologist7 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is described as a cross between the Dirty Dozen, the Deer Hunter, with a James Bond ending. I have not seen the Deer Hunter at the time of writing so I am not too sure what that is about except that it deals with mates going off to the Vietnam War together. This movie is like the Dirty Dozen as it involves a group of criminals being dropped into Vietnam to find a cache of American weapons and to destroy it. True to the Dirty Dozen fashion, the crims drop like flies (pardon the cliché) and only a handful make it out alive. While they are travelling across Vietnam, they must also rescue the general's brother who is a captive and they are also being pursued by a very large number of Viet-Cong.

This movie would fall into the category of a "did we win this time" film. Being made in the late 80's it appeared at a time when numerous Vietnam movies were being made in the United States, and this is Hong Kong showing the United States how a real action film should be made. This is a movie where they try to rewrite the ending of the Vietnam war so that the United States does come out victorious, rather that slinking out like they did.

Eastern Condors is not a political movie: Hong Kong movies tend not to follow that line. Nor is it a movie questioning morality or exploring characters: rather it is an action movie. It is a heaps good action movie, but an action movie nonetheless. When you come to watch this movie, you generally don't look for deep themes as there are none. Rather it is showing American Cinema what action movies really are like and how they really should be made.
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Impressive Cast and Impressive Action
coconutkungfu-3070419 February 2020
This star-studded Vietnam epic is one of HK cinema's finest action pictures. Sammo Hung , who this time around has slimmed down in preparation for his role, leads an amazing cast in a film with brutal hard-hitting action with some immense impact. The story is a kind of Dirty Dozen in Vietnam that is interesting and the cast of characters are great.

One of my absolute favorite films! I eagerly await a director's cut to be released someday with all the extra footage that was never released (some of which can be seen in the original theatrical trailer)
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Eastern Condors: One of the Greatest War Films You Haven't Watched Yet (SPOILERS)
neonadventure16 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"Eastern Condors" is a 1987 Chinese action film directed and starred Sammo Hung. It also included many other famous actors/actresses who would soon become famous years after this like Yuen Biao, (Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung always work with him) Joyce Godenzi, (Sammo Hung's future wife) Wah Yuen, (the landlord of Stephen Chow's "Kung Fu Hustle") Lam Ching Ying, (famous for "Prodigal Son" and "Mr. Vampire") Yuen Woo-Ping, (action choreographer of the "Matrix", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", and "Drunken Master") and Billy Chow. (The famous villain of Jet Li's "Fist of Legend") The film itself plays similar to any other Vietnam war film, but with a Bond twist into it.

During the Vietnam War, a group of prisoners are dropped into the gruesome battlefields of Vietnam as they must find and destroy dangerous missiles that the enemies hold. The story itself plays very simply, yet it plays around like a dance. Our main characters can be seen constantly being attacked by bullets of the enemies that surround them, day and night. The film itself easily kills a prisoner, one by one. Sammo dares to kill his prisoners one by one as they are driven into madness and their desires of completing their tasks without fail. There was a big scene in the beginning of the film when after the prisoners are taken in as hostages of a group of Vietnamese soldiers. They are forced to play Russian Roulette which is stolen from, "The Deer Hunter." The only difference is, children are the one that are pulling the trigger for the prisoners. While the remaining prisoners take down their enemy's camp, one prisoner was about to shoot down an innocent child when the child later stabbed him and ran away with excellent speed. It was rather an interesting scene that tells us how bad the Vietnam War was like.

Although this film isn't the greatest Vietnam War film to hold the emotional impact like, "Platoon" and "Apocalypse Now", "Eastern Condors" does still thrill the audience with it's strong action sequences, a scene or two of light humor between one character or another, (Not physical humor as Jackie Chan does) and the overall strong message that it displays out. Although this film isn't that good now that I think of it, it does remain as one of Sammo Hung's greatest films to date and can get a little over the top. The story itself can be a bit too simple and uncomplex and the uses of humor for a war film isn't the smartest choice. Although, if you enjoy action fight sequences, you will enjoy this cult classic.
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silly jungle machismo
mjneu5915 November 2010
Hong Kong action movies can be hard enough to swallow under the best of circumstances, but this post-Vietnam War variation (i.e. rip-off) of 'The Dirty Dozen' lacks even the guilty pleasures of its predecessors. The hard-boiled heroes, all of course handpicked from military prison (and numbering less than a dozen: several don't survive past the opening credits), are dropped by parachute into the jungles of Southeast Asia with orders to blow up an abandoned U.S. weapons dump before it falls into Communist hands. Predictably, this particular semi-dozen take most of their cues from Rambo's revisionist warmongering, with the only surprise being an unexpected, brazen theft of the notorious Russian roulette scene from 'The Deer Hunter', gratuitously reproduced almost shot for shot. The film doesn't, thankfully, take itself very seriously (you'll notice nobody simply falls down after being shot: a martial arts trampoline somersault is always required), but it lacks the visual nerve and narrative panache of the best dumb-fun action adventures. And yes, the Hiang S. Ngor mugging his way through several scenes is the same Academy Award winning actor from 'The Killing Fields'.
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Cool war fu movie
sarastro716 June 2005
Eastern Condors is a war movie which is filled to the brim with cool action and great kung fu acrobatics. A contingent of Chinese-Americans go to Vietnam just after the end of the Vietnam War in 1976 to find and blow up a U.S. weapons cache. As they arrive they are joined by three female Cambodian guerrilla warriors, the leader of which being played by the stunningly gorgeous and superbly kung fu capable Joyce Godenzi, who's only made a few movies (a friend tells me that she probably retired from movie-making after marrying Sammo Hung).

Yuen Biao is very cool in it, though his role could have been larger. The main spotlight goes to Sammo Hung, whose character is aflame with constant guerrilla action, and to him also goes the final showdown with Yuen Wah.

All in all, a very cool Sammo Hung actioner. The story and its execution are strictly speaking not great, but the action makes it eminently watchable. I rate the movie a 7 for the overall story, with an added point for Joyce Godenzi's coolness.

Thus, 8 out of 10.
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Definitely one of Sammo's best films
donbendell25 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"This movie is kind of an amalgamation of The Dirty Dozen and Rambo, with Lam Ching-Ying bringing a group of convicts (Sammo being the leader amongst them) into Vietnam to complete a dangerous mission. Even though there are some attempts at emotion and symbolism sprinkled throughout the movie, the emphasis here is on action. There is just enough exposition to get the the next action sequence, then a bit more story, some more action, and so on. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I would much rather watch an action movie just be a straight-forward adrenalin fest than yet another Killer wannabe. This is not to say that I didn't enjoy the non-action bits. I found the characters quite engaging and enjoyed getting to know more about them, especially Max Mok as the resident wise ass, Wu Ma as the crusty old-timer, and Joyce Godenzi (Sammo's wife) as a Cambodian mercenary. There are also some genuinely moving dramatic parts as well, most notably a Deer Hunter-style game of Russian roulette that involves children.

But, as I said before, the emphasis in Eastern Condors is on the action, and it delivers it in spades. This is one of those rare movies where it's hard to pick out your favorite sequence because they're all so good. Sammo and Yuen Biao do the majority of the fighting (as well as doing some amazing stunts), but most of the cast gets in a few licks during the movie. It was really cool seeing guys like Corey Yuen and Yuen Woo-Ping showing their stuff on screen, versus the behind-the-scenes work they do now. Of course, most of the guys get killed off until a final confrontation between the remainder of the force and the Vietnamese bosses, which is a stunning fight, and like the rest of this movie, should not be missed by any martial arts/action fan. Eastern Condors is definitely one of Sammo's best films and comes highly recommended."
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One of the most brutal Kung Fu movies ever.
veganflimgeek27 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
***Mild spoilers***

Eastern condors is a mindless action film lovers dream. That doesn't mean the film is stupid. Technically speaking the film is not high quality, the special effects, sound design. while lets put it this way are not made to high standards. If your not scared away by a little campy feel you'll be ok. I think Sammo and his team decided that for this film it was more important to spend the money on blowing up stuff, guns and hospital bills for stuntmen rather than how crappy the effects look.

Yes this is a Hong Kong dirty dozen. Yes QT plays this in his film fest and it inspired his next film(after kill bill). In other words there is good stuff here. The martial arts is some of the best you will ever see. The last twenty minutes is one of the most effective show downs in martial arts movie history. There are lots of scenes where someone gets slammed and you can't help but cringe. There is one stunt where a man takes a dive on a staircase that had to result in a injury.

Yuen Biao is his usual acrobatic self, stealing scenes. I always wonder why he never got the fame of Jackie or Jet. Sammo does a great job acting and performing in this movie which is even more impressive since he directed the picture. I noticed that he shared the marital arts direction.

I noticed someone else commented on the absolutely hilarious closing credits. It is very funny. Also the Vietnam war stock footage is also funny.
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The Dirty Dozen - Hong Kong Style
tonyruben10 November 2000
This movie throws everything at you. Frenetic fights, explosions and gun play all with the usual smattering of comedy. The cast list reads like a who's who of HK cinema, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Lam Ching Ying, Yuen Wah, Joyce Godenzi and even famed action choreographer Yuen Woo Ping in an acting role. All are streatched to their limits in a non stop action feast.

The martial arts sequences are superb, as you would expect given the talented cast. But for me the star is Yuen Wah who plays what is for me the greatest villain in cinema history. His unbelievable arrays of kicks and almost contortionist like suppleness shows that he has got to be one of the most underused talents in Hong Kong. If there is a downside to the flick it is that because it is a war film rather than a straight martial arts film, it can get a bit lost, unsure what it is that it really wants to be. The gun fights and explosions don't always gel with the fights and those fans that don't like war films may find those elements detract from the rest of the picture.
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