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鐵金剛大破紫陽觀 (1974)

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 08/24/2006
Summary: this could have been one of the biggest asian films ever...

picture the scene; it's 1973, 'enter the dragon' has just been completed, bruce lee is at his peak. sonny chiba had just finished filming 'the street fighter' and it is four years since george lazenby starred as james bond in 'o.h.m.s.s.'.

lee and lazenby have just signed the contract to star together in a film that is set to have the biggest budget of any asian production, chiba is en route from japan, ready to add his signature to the project. the film is 'the shrine of ultimate bliss', the tag-line is "it's lee, it's lazenby, it's bruce versus bond".

as chiba's plane is coming in to land, it is announced that bruce lee has died. chiba returns to japan, unwilling to participate in the project without lee. lazenby has no option (and probably no other work lined up), so he continues with the project; the budget is cut, the story is changed and the film is now to be titled 'stoner'.

lazenby is stoner, an australian cop who's been working on breaking up a drug-ring in sydney; he's gotten too close to them and they've lured his girlfriend into their world and killed her with an overdose of 'happy pills'. he sets off to hong kong for revenge. meanwhile, in taiwan li shao hu (angela mao), a cop, is being sent to investigate the drug-ring after they've been using taiwanese boats to smuggle their wares. the two arrive in hong kong and track the drug-ring to a local temple; running in to various henchmen, led by sammo hung, along the way.

the version i watched was sourced from the us vhs and fully dubbed into english. apparently, the hong kong version has a mixed english / cantonese soundtrack and 15-25 minutes extra footage; including more angela mao, extended fight sequences, some more nudity and a sammo sex-scene...

the film itself is fairly decent, but it was only given a hong kong release, not the worldwide release that it would have received, had lee not died. it's a sleazy, psychedelic exploitation flick, with some kung-fu action thrown in for good measure. lazenby actually looks pretty good, sammo does some good work and angela mao is on pretty good form.

ideally, i'd like to see a nice dvd of the hong kong print appear, but i'm not sure that'll ever happen. still, it's definately an interesting curio...

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

An Australian cop named Stoner (George Lazenby) heads to Hong Kong after he finds his sister dead from an overdose of a new drug known as "happy pills." A mainland cop (Angela Mao) is already working undercover on the case, and they team together to take down the crime syndicate.

I must admit I watched this movie on the cast list alone. George Lazenby is best known for portraying James Bond for only one movie, the under-rated On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Angela Mao was one of the queens of old-school kung fu, Sammo Hung at this point in his career was starting to make more of an onscreen persona for himself after finding success as a stunt director, and Betty Ting is famous (or rather infamous) for being the actress in whose apartment Bruce Lee died. Various rumors have her having an affair with Lee at the time and also giving him the drugs which caused his death via an allergic reaction; she later went on to marry Triad boss and producer/actor Charles Heung, which seemed to strengthen the theories that the Triad had a hand in Lee's death. Anyhow, just the prospect of seeing Angela Mao and Sammo Hung fight each other was enough for me to warrant a viewing.

Even though the cast is a pretty interesting lot, Stoner itself is a fairly boring movie, kind of (as you might expect) a low-rent James Bond. The actors do a good job, but they really don't have much to work with; the script is as cliched and derivative as they come. Action-wise, there are a few good sequences. Lazenby looks suprisingly good, at least until Hung and Mao start fighting -- but of course, as he is the star he still manages to beat everyone up, including Sammo a couple of times. Disappointingly, Hung and Mao never clash onscreen, but at least Angela doesn't turn into a typical female sidekick. She holds her own -- and surpasses -- her male counterparts onscreen, and it is her performance, rather than the curiosity factor of the cast, that I think warrants a viewing of Stoner.

Note: the US version is cut by about 25 minutes. Most of the trimmed footage, sad to say, is of Angela Mao, including an entire fight sequence -- which not only makes the movie less exciting but also creates a plot hole. The remainder of the footage is of softcore sex stuff featuring very ugly white women.

Reviewed by: student
Date: 01/11/2000

Stoner was an okay movie. The really best part is at the end when Angela Mao beats the crap out of the bad guy in a grueling hand-to hand combat which lasts over 10 minutes. Angela displays her athletic prowess with a variety of kicks and chops. Including a nice drop kick with both feet, a kick to the side of the face just to new a couple. The best is when she catches an explosive thrown by the villain and throws it back at him. With deadly accuracy, Angela kicks the bad guy in the stomach and delivers a crushing kick to the left temple rendering the bad guy vanquished. But, Angela makes sure he is finished and delivers a flying kick to the chest area, sending the burning villain flying through a wooden partition. Just as a precaution, Angela runs around to make sure the villain is finished (lucky for him he is!) My only cmplaint about this whole fighting secuence is that the lighting was too dark and it gets hard to see the fighting.