Aces Go Places IV
Director: Ringo Lam
Stars: Sam Hui, Karl Maka, Sally Yeh, Ronald Lacey, Sylvia Chang, Wong Ka-Min, Roy Chiao, Shek Kin, Kwan Tak-Hing
This installment of the popular series has King Kong (Sam Hui) in New Zealand, where he is part of an experiment by a doctor (Roy Cheung) to give men superpowers when a group of Nazis (only in Hong Kong movies, I guess) breaks in to steal a gem which is vital to the experiment's success. Kong manages to save the gem, but the doctor dies and so, with the doctor's mousy daughter (Sally Yeh) in tow, he heads to Hong Kong to find his friends Kodojack and Nancy (Karl Maka and Sylvia Chang) to help protect the gem.
The Aces Go Places series is best known for light comedy with a bit of James Bond-ish action thrown into the mix. However, this installment comes closer in tone to the violent "heroic bloodshed" films that would dominate Hong Kong cinema in the late 1980's (perhaps not coincidentally, Ringo Lam's next film was City on Fire, one of the prototypical movies of the genre). There is one scene that highlights this very well. A group of thugs attempt to kidnap Kodojack and Nancy's kid and beat up Nancy in the process. It's not overly violent -- there's not gushing blood or anything -- but there's a underlying sense of brutality throughout the scene. Not to say that Aces Go Places IV is devoid of comedy; there are several inspired bits in the film, such as a scene taking place at a charity ice hockey games where the coaches are played by Kwan Tak-Hing and Shek Kin. The two appeared in many Wong Fei-Hung films together and watching them play off each other is quite funny even if you don't know their off-screen history.
Taken as part of the series, Aces Go Places IV's more violent turn may not appeal to fans of the previous movies, but on its' own, it stands up well. Ringo Lam has been one of Hong Kong's most consistent and solid directors, and this is another fine effort from him.
A review of the VCD for this movie can be found here
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