Mad Mission III: Our Man From Bond Street (1984)

Original title: Zuijia paidang zhi nuhuang miling
Country: Hong Kong
Director: Tsui Hark
Starring: Sam Hui, Karl Maka, Sylvia Chang, Peter Graves, Richard Kiel, Jean Mersant, John Sham
Music: Lynsey De Paul

Now dear reader, I warn you that this film is subtitled Our Man From Bond Street, so during the course of this review, I am going to be laying on the Bond references thick and fast. This film prides itself on how many Bondian references it can squeeze into it’s 81 minute running time, and in the course of detailing what this movie has to offer, I’ll be regurgitating them back for you.

What does Mad Mission III: Our Man From Bond Street have to offer? Well, like previous instalments in the Mad Mission series it provides plenty of outrageous stunts and a swag of movie in-jokes. It is also a film from Hong Kong – made during the 1980’s. For me, one thing defines 80’s Hong Kong action cinema – and that’s broken glass. After a decade of cars, bikes and stuntmen crashing through so many panes of glass and windshields, I’d suggest that Hong Kong went into the 90’s as a windowless city. I am happy to report that Mad Mission III continues the window smashing legacy – it may seem tame compared to Jackie Chan’s Police Story, but I am sure the glaziers had there work cut out for them.

This instalment opens with international Jewel thief Sam Hong Kong (Sam Hui) checking out the tourist attractions in Paris. Near the Eiffel Tower he sets up a piece of equipment on a tripod (I have no idea what it is). As he scans the area with a telescopic sight, a black leather clad babe sets up a rocket launcher behind him. As he swings around, he girl fires the rocket. He leaps out of the way at the last second, and then chases the girl on foot. The chase leads them to the river, and as they wrestle on the shore, a speedboat moves into towards them. Inside the boat is a Harold Sakata (Oddjob from Goldfinger) look-a-like. Like Oddjob, this guy has a killer steel-rimmed hat, which he slings at Sam. The flying hat is deflected by a metal suitcase and then returns to it’s master. The distraction gives the girl time to get away, and she makes her way to the Eiffel Tower.

Now folks, the scenes I am about to describe may seem familiar to fans of the Bond films, especially those that remember A View To A Kill – but this film was released in 1984, a year before the afore mentioned Bond film. The chase continues, and Sam enters one of the elevator carriages on the tower. Inside, waiting is a seven foot tall giant, named Big G – played by Richard Kiel who Bond fans will immediately recognise as ‘Jaws’ from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. As Sam is menaced by Big G, the elevator rises to the first level. The lift stops and the doors open. Then Oddjob’s deadly hat flies into the carriage, followed swiftly by it’s owner. This Oddjob is different to the Bondian one though. This fellow has a steel hand that can crush anything within it’s grasp. Now with two Bond villains after him, Sam decides it’s time to flee and smashes out a glass window and crawls out onto the roof of the elevator carriage. He is followed out by Big G who arrives on the roof with a parachute strapped to his back. Fearing nothing from the diminutive Sam, Big G removes the parachute and tosses it to the four winds. Sam, seeing his only chance of escape flying through the air, leaps off the carriage and catches the parachute mid flight. He straps it on, pulls the cord and drifts down towards the Seine. Above the river, he cuts himself free and falls into the dirty green water.

Poor old Sam’s problems don’t end there, I’m afraid. Next, underwater, he is chased by a giant mechanical shark. He tries to outswim it, but he is soon overtaken and swallowed by the mechanical beast. Inside, he finds himself in a hi-tech submarine, and confronted by James Bond – or at least, a Sean Connery look-a-like. But Bond is not an actual enemy. He in fact wants to recruit Sam. It seems that the Queen of England has lost her crown, and they need the master thief to re-acquire it from the security vault that it is being held in.

Sam agrees to the mission, but if he is going to return to a life of crime, even if it is for the Queen of England, he wants an alibi. His choice is his old sparring partner, Detective Kodyjack (Karl Maka). Sam arranges to meet Kodyjack at a restaurant. Knowing that Kodyjack fancies himself as somewhat of a lady-killer, Sam arranges for his assistant on the mission, Jade East to meet them at the restaurant. While Kodyjack ingratiates himself on Jade, Sam slips out to pull off the heist.

Adding to the plot convolution is the actual Man From Bond Street, secret agent Tom Collins – played by Peter Graves. As you’re no doubt aware, Graves played Jim Phelps in the Mission: Impossible television series – and yes, there is a joke about an self destructing message. Agent Collins is in Hong Kong on the trail of a gang of jewel thieves whose members specialise in impersonating the Conneryesque secret agents and the Queen.

This instalment in the Mad Mission series is a great deal of fun, but it is also extremely juvenile. But if you don’t mind lowest common denominator humour paired with outrageous stunts, then Mad Mission III: Our Man From Bond Street is a passable Bond parody.

Mad Mission III: Our Man From Bond Street (1984)

Mad Mission (1982)

Original title: Zuijia Paidang
AKA: Aces Go Places
Director: Erik Tsang
Starring: Sam Hui, Karl Maka, Sylvia Chang, Dean Shak, Robert Houston, Carroll Gordon, Sue Hark, Jimmy Shaw
Music: Sam Hui, Teddy Robin Kwan

Although not strictly a spy film, I thought it appropriate to include the Mad Mission films on Permission To Kill, as they include many espionage style sequences, and plenty of action stunts. The third film in the series Mad Mission 3: Our Man From Bond Street borrows particularly heavily from the Bond series, and other popular spy shows. In fact all the films heavily reference other popular films in a similar way to The Naked Gun or Spy Hard movies borrow from popular films of the day. For those not familiar with the Mad Mission films, sometimes Known as Ace Go Places, they are a series of outrageous action comedies from Hong Kong.

This one begins with an illegal $30,000,000 cash for diamonds trade by two of Hong Kong’s shady underworld figures. In the hotel across the street, master thief, King Kong (Sam Hui) walks through the lobby in a crisp suit. He rides the elevator up to the roof, and then in a scene that’s the reverse of James Bond’s entrance in Goldfinger, he rips off his suit to reveal a black leather jump suit. King Kong then assembles a giant harpoon gun.

As the diamond exchange takes place, King Kong fires the harpoon with a rope attached to it across the street, through the window, and into the room where exchange is taking place. He then puts on a pulley belt; attaches himself to the rope, and then literally flies across the street into the room. He grabs the case of diamonds and then leaps back out the window. Then he swings down to another floor, crashes through the glass and then makes his way to the janitor’s room where Gigolo Joe (Dean Shek) is waiting. Gigolo Joe is the gadget guy. Yep, like “Q”, and he is waiting with a motorbike. King Kong mounts the bike and races it through the hotel corridors, into lifts, and down escalators with a squad of underworld goons on his tail.

Once on the street, he is not in the clear yet. Car chase time. The underworld thugs chase King Kong through the streets of Hong Kong, until he gets to another pre-organised check point. Here he ditches the motorbike and exchanges it for a motorised hang-glider. As the thugs get closer, King Kong escapes by flying off over their heads. Now a motorised glider may not seem too outrageous today, but in 1982, this was cutting edge escapism. Now described above, is only the opening scene. You can see that this film is pretty fast paced and features some wild stunts.

The mob aren’t happy about loosing their diamonds. They believe the robbery is the work of a famous jewel thief called ‘White Glove’. The mob track ‘White Glove’ down in Venice. As ‘White Glove’ didn’t steal the diamonds, he enters into an arrangement with the mob to retrieve them from the real thief in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, things haven’t gone to well for King Kong. He got Gigolo Joe to hide the diamonds. But before Joe could pass on the location to King Kong, his womanising gets him into trouble. He is killed by the local gang leader after a dalliance with the gang leader’s sister!. Just before he dies, Joe is able to tell King Kong that he has left clues to the whereabouts of the diamonds. Unfortunately the clues are in the form of tattoos. And the tattoos happen to be on the bottoms of two of the many girls the Gigolo Joe has been seeing.

Hong Kong’s police department hear rumours that ‘White Glove’ is coming to town. They have been after him for years. To help track him down, they enlist the aid of the famous New York detective Kodyjack (Karl Maka), who is, yep, you guessed it, just like Kodjak. Working from Hong Kong’s end, assigned to assist Kodyjack is tough cop Superintendent Nancy Ho (Sylvia Chang).

Mad Mission is basically a wild kids film. There is a large amount of slapstick silliness. Maka as Kodyjack in particular spends most of his time mugging through the film. It’s the type of film, where characters go crosseyed to get laughs. Maybe I am getting too old for this kind of thing. Or maybe it is the translation or the dubbing, but this film left me pretty uninspired. Time has caught up with it a bit too. Like I said about the hang-glider. It was great in 1982, but in 2008, viewers expect a bit more bang for their buck. Kids under the age of ten would probably enjoy this movie, but other than that, and despite the impressive stuntwork, this production is pretty juvenile.

Mad Mission (1982)