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 GunSpy Hard or 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.