George Lazenby and Angela Mao  Betty Ting and Sammo Hung



Director: Huang Feng

Stars: George Lazenby, Angela Mao, Sammo Hung, Betty Ting, Huang In-Sik

An Australian cop named Stoner (George Lazenby) heads to Hong Kong after he finds his sister dead from an overdose of a new drug known as "happy pills." A mainland cop (Angela Mao) is already working undercover on the case, and they team together to take down the crime syndicate.

I must admit I watched this movie on the cast list alone. George Lazenby is best known for portraying James Bond for only one movie, the under-rated On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Angela Mao was one of the queens of old-school kung fu, Sammo Hung at this point in his career was starting to make more of an onscreen persona for himself after finding success as a stunt director, and Betty Ting is famous (or rather infamous) for being the actress in whose apartment Bruce Lee died. Various rumors have her having an affair with Lee at the time and also giving him the drugs which caused his death via an allergic reaction; she later went on to marry Triad boss and producer/actor Charles Heung, which seemed to strengthen the theories that the Triad had a hand in Lee's death. Anyhow, just the prospect of seeing Angela Mao and Sammo Hung fight each other was enough for me to warrant a viewing.

Even though the cast is a pretty interesting lot, Stoner itself is a fairly boring movie, kind of (as you might expect) a low-rent James Bond. The actors do a good job, but they really don't have much to work with; the script is as cliched and derivative as they come. Action-wise, there are a few good sequences. Lazenby looks suprisingly good, at least until Hung and Mao start fighting -- but of course, as he is the star he still manages to beat everyone up, including Sammo a couple of times. Disappointingly, Hung and Mao never clash onscreen, but at least Angela doesn't turn into a typical female sidekick. She holds her own -- and surpasses -- her male counterparts onscreen, and it is her performance, rather than the curiosity factor of the cast, that I think warrants a viewing of Stoner.


Note: the US version is cut by about 25 minutes. Most of the trimmed footage, sad to say, is of Angela Mao, including an entire fight sequence -- which not only makes the movie less exciting but also creates a plot hole. The remainder of the footage is of softcore sex stuff featuring very ugly white women.

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