Armour of God (film)
|Armour of God|
|Mandarin||Lóng Xiōng Hǔ Dì|
|Cantonese||Lung4 Hing1 Fu2 Dai6|
|Edited by||Peter Cheung|
|Box office||US$15 million (est.)|
Armour of God (Chinese: 龍兄虎弟; also known as Operation Condor 2: The Armour of the Gods in the United States) is a 1986 Hong Kong action-comedy film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the film in lead role. The film co-stars Alan Tam, Lola Forner and Rosamund Kwan.
The film features Chan's kung fu, comedy and stunts, with an Indiana Jones-style theme and deemed a cult classic. Chan came the closest he has ever been to death in this film during a relatively routine stunt; he leaped onto a tree from a ledge, but the branch he grabbed snapped, sending Chan plummeting and cracking his skull. The film was followed by the sequel Armour of God II: Operation Condor in 1991.
Jackie, a.k.a. "Asian Hawk", is a former musician who becomes an adventurer and treasure hunter. After successfully stealing a sword from an African tribe, he has the weapon auctioned before it is won by May Bannon, the beautiful daughter of Count Bannon. He is reunited with his former bandmate Alan, who seeks his help as his girlfriend Lorelei has been kidnapped by an evil religious cult as a means of acquiring Jackie's services. The cult possesses two pieces of a legendary armour called the "Armour of God", and they intend to have Jackie bring them the three remaining armour pieces, including the sword. Jackie and Alan strike a deal with Count Bannon, who is in possession of the three armour pieces: they will borrow the armour pieces for their quest to rescue Lorelei with a promise to complete the armour for the Count, on the condition that May accompanies them.
Jackie, Alan and May travel into Yugoslavia to find the cult's monastery. They infiltrate the hideout and secretly rescue Lorelei, unaware that the cult leaders have anticipated their arrival and brainwashed her to do their bidding. At May's rest home, Lorelei drugs Alan and has him steal the three armour pieces. Jackie sneaks back to the monastery and rescues his friends. As Alan and Lorelei make their escape, Jackie fends off against the cult members before discovering the Armour of God in a cave. Before he gets a chance to take the armour, he encounters the Grand Wizard, who unleashes his four female assassins on the adventurer. Exploiting their high-heeled shoes as their weakness, Jackie defeats the assassins in a gruelling fight. Jackie is then surrounded by the rest of the Grand Wizard's men, but he reveals a vest filled with sticks of dynamite under his jacket, threatening to blow himself up with the monastery. After a couple of bluffs, he carelessly lights up the fuse and throws away the sticks of dynamite, running for his life as the monastery quickly begins to cave in, burying the entire cult and the Armour of God. He runs out of a cave and spots a hot-air balloon with Alan, Lorelei, and May aboard. In a daring move, Jackie does a base jump off the cave and lands on top of the balloon, ending the movie.
- Jackie Chan as Jackie a.k.a. "Asian Hawk", a common treasure hunter and former member of the pop group "The Losers" (an allusion to '70s Cantopop band The Wynners)
- Alan Tam as Alan, a former member of The Losers who has moved on to a successful solo career
- Lola Forner as May Bannon, the daughter of a powerful European Count
- Rosamund Kwan as Lorelei, Alan's girlfriend and a former member of the Losers who is a prominent fashion designer
- Božidar Smiljanić as Count Bannon, May's father
- Ken Boyle as Grand Wizard, the leader of the evil religious cult
- John Ladalski as Lama
- Robert O'Brien as the African witch doctor
- Boris Gregoric as Jackie's representative at the auction
- Mars (extra) (uncredited)
- Kenny Bee
- Carina Lau
- Anthony Chan
Armour of God was filmed on location in parts of what was then Yugoslavia: Zagreb (Dolac Central Market), Upper town, Trnje (near the then-unfinished building of Croatian Radio Television), Croatia, and Predjama Castle near Postojna, Slovenia. Filming was also undertaken in Graz, Austria, France, Spain and Morocco. During filming of the opening sequence, one scene called for Jackie Chan to jump from a wall to a tree branch. The first take went as planned, but Chan insisted on re-shooting the scene. On his second attempt, the branch broke and he fell 5 metres to the ground below. His head hit a rock, cracking his skull and forcing a piece of bone up into his brain. Chan was flown to the hospital and was in surgery eight hours later. As a result, he now has a permanent hole in his head filled with a plastic plug and slight hearing loss in his right ear. Chan replaced Eric Tsang as director following the accident. Footage of the accident is shown during the film's ending credits.
While shooting the hot-air balloon jump, Chan skydived out of a plane and landed on top of the balloon instead of jumping off a cliff as is seen in the film. For the shot of him jumping off the cliff, the crew rigged him up to a wire as he had no experience of BASE jumping.
In Hong Kong, the film grossed HK$35,469,408 (US$4,548,526). It was the highest-grossing film in Hong Kong at the time. In Japan, the film grossed ¥1.36 billion (US$9.4 million). In Taiwan, it grossed NT$13,504,585 (US$472,188). In South Korea, it was the top-grossing foreign film of 1987, with 208,462 ticket sales, equivalent to an estimated ₩729,617,000 (US$886,999). In total, the film grossed an estimated US$15,307,713 in East Asia.
In Asia, some versions of the film had Alan Tam's song "Lorelei" playing during the end credits whereas others had Jackie Chan singing "Flight of the Dragon (aka High upon High)". Tam and Chan recorded both songs in Cantonese and English and their English versions were featured in the export English dubs.
In the United States, Armour of God did not receive a theatrical release. The film's sequel, Armour of God II: Operation Condor (1991), was released under the simplified title Operation Condor. Armour of God was subsequently released direct-to-video by Miramax Films, but the title was changed to Operation Condor 2: The Armor of the Gods; at the time of its release it served as a prequel, despite being the first film. A new musical score was created for this release, and a new English dub (with the participation of Chan).
Nine minutes of cuts were made to the Miramax version, including:
- The concert scene of Jackie's band The Losers.
- Jackie's dream sequence.
- The scene in which May, disguised as a prostitute, encounters a monk who wants to sleep with her.
- An extended version of the slapstick sequence in which Alan hides in May's room. The scene also includes a brainwashed Lorelei attempting to seduce Jackie.
These same cuts were evident in the Spanish Region 2 release, but DVD releases in Hong Kong, Australia and the rest of Europe are uncut.
Awards and nominations
- 1988 Hong Kong Film Awards
- Jackie Chan filmography
- List of Hong Kong films
- Khiladi 420 (2000), Indian action film in which Akshay Kumar performs a similar hot-air balloon stunt
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