The Millionaires' Express (1986)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2006-05-23
After watching a few Hong Kong movies per week for the past year or so we are finally beginning to recognize many actors with just a quick glimpse as the camera pans past them the first time they are on the screen—this movie is an excellent exercise since it, as has been said, features a boatload of familiar faces from the 1970s and 1980s. There isn’t much of a plot although there are several storylines that are connected by the pending arrival and subsequent sabotage of the train in the title—a train that is carrying something that everyone wants.

Chin Fong Tin thinks the enforced vacation by the high rollers on the train will be great for the town and also for the prostitutes he is bringing with him. One set of robbers, an inept crew led by the irrepressible Eric Tsang want to rob the train because...well they just wont to rob the train. They have already stolen the life savings of just about everyone in town but want more and plan to ride up the train on horses and jump aboard. A much more professional gang of thieves has a meticulously planned operation. They know that the Japanese ambassador has a map that shows the location of the terra cotta warriors—quite a map, since it pinpoints a discovery that will take place about 80 years after the action in the movie—and are willing to pay the scoundrels they hire a lot of money plus all the loot from the passengers in order to get the map. The law is represented by Tsao Cheuk Kin, a very fit and powerful Yuen Biao, and a government agent co-opted by the CIA (!), an alternatingly smirking and snarling Kenny Bee who is obsessed with capturing Chin Fong Tin.

There is something for everyone in this movie: martial arts, very broad comedy, astounding stunt work—some of the high falls done without cuts are worth replaying a few times—a very large set is torched, even Wong Fei Hong makes an appearance. There are all but indestructible Japanese Ninjas, including Oshima Yukari, a lovely group of prostitutes led by Rosamun Kwan and including the feisty Pauline Wong and the gorgeous Emily Chu. Their main purpose is to set up a big scene for Sammo when he confronts the moral uplift ladies who want to run the girls out of town. He wows them with a story of how his poor mother was a prostitute who had ten children and had to provide for them in the only way she could.

With so many action stars to accommodate some of the fights seemed too short although all were choreographed and executed well. Yeun Biao is always a joy to watch as is Oshima Yukari, and watching Sammo and Cynthia Rothrock beat the hell out of each other was a lot of fun. Jimmy Wang Yu seemed oddly cast as Wong Kai-Ying, but if Donnie Yen can play Wong Fei Hong’s father....

After a while—a very short while—the viewer forgets or ignores the anachronisms, the huge holes in the plot, the very odd costuming—the mountain bandits were dressed in Union Army uniforms from the U.S. Civil War—and other inconsistencies to enjoy all the unbridled good humor and excellent action.

The DVD we watched had a couple of minutes of “making of” type footage under the final credits.

Reviewer Score: 8