Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Movie Review: Armour Of God

Sneaking another film into the Jackie Chan Film Festival schedule, Armour Of God is one of two takes on the Indiana Jones motif. Armour Of God is sometimes called Operation Condor 2, even though Operation Condor (also released as Armour Of God 2) was released after Armour Of God. Oh, and though Jackie plays a character named Condor in Operation Condor, here (in Operation Condor 2), he plays a character named Asian Hawk.

Make sense?

At any rate, Jackie here plays an adventurer who goes after ancient artifacts. The main one in question here is the aforementioned armor, which comes in five pieces. One collector is trying to acquire the pieces for himself, while a band of Satanic monks (no, really!) is trying to destroy the armor, which somehow will give them great power to do...well, something. The only thing we really see them do in the movie is hire a bunch of prostitutes and eat bread, so it's not clear what their real power is. When a former love interest of Hawk's is kidnapped by the monks (she used to be in a pop band with Hawk - yeah, he's like Buckaroo Banzai but without the surgical skills), Hawk, Mildly Useful Companion #1 and Useless Companion #2 head out to rescue her and reclaim the armor.

This movie follows what is becoming a standard pattern in this point in Jackie's career: opening stunt spectacular, plot description, lame romantic comedy beats, closing stunt/fight spectacular. One's enjoyment of the film depends on how much one can stand those middle sections, where you'll get a few minutes of action and forty minutes of goofy situational comedy on the level of a bad Three's Company episode. Here, it's pretty bad - Jackie's Useless Companion #2 is also the competing love interest, and he's definitely not the best character ever to show up in a Jackie Chan movie - pretty much without merit in any way.

The opening and closing scenes are well done, with Jackie getting more stunt work than fight work this time around. (This is the film that features a missed stunt where Jackie required emergency brain surgery.) Outside of a pretty impressive fight sequence at the very end where Jackie takes on four high-heeled-shoe-wielding women (no, really!), none of the fight scenes really stood out. This one is more about the stunts, with the capper being a skydive off of a mountain onto a hot-air balloon. Not that it made much sense in terms of the script. Or physics. But it looked impressive.

Of course, the reason he dove off of the mountain is because he blew up the monk's secret lair with dynamite. With the Armour of God still inside, as far as I can tell.


So, in the end, not a movie that really cared too much about characters, plot or dialog. Just an excuse for a few good stunts, and a length section of boredom. Not really his best effort - the sequel movie ended up being a much better take on this kind of thing. As for this one, two stars.

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