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Armour of God

Original Hong Kong DVD cover
Directed by Jackie Chan
Eric Tsang
Produced by Leonard Ho
Chua Lam
Written by Jackie Chan
John Sheppard
Eric Tsang
Starring Jackie Chan
Alan Tam
Maria Dolores Forner
Rosamund Kwan
Music by Michael Wandmacher
Cinematography Bob Thompson
Distributed by Golden Harvest
Toho
Release date(s) Hong Kong:
21 January 1987 (1987-01-21)
Running time 97 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Gross revenue HK $35,469,408
Followed by Armour of God II: Operation Condor

Armour of God (Chinese: 龍兄虎弟, Long xiong hu di) is a 1987 Hong Kong martial arts-action film co-directed by, and starring Jackie Chan. The film features Chan's regular kung-fu, comedy and stunts, with an Indiana Jones-style theme. Chan came the closest he has ever been to death in this film during a relatively routine stunt; he leaped onto a tree from a ledge, but the branch he grabbed snapped, sending Chan plummeting a huge distance and cracking his skull.

Contents

Plot

Jackie aka Asian Hawk (Jackie Chan) is an adventurer with a mercenary streak. Jackie used to perform in a band with his friends Alan (Alan Tam) and Laura (Rosamund Kwan) before he was kicked out of the band by Alan, who wanted Laura for himself. At the beginning of the film Jackie steals a sword from an African tribe that is one of the five pieces of a valuable armour known as the Armour of God. Alan is still a successful singer and Laura is a renowned fashion-designer. During the course of the film, Jackie is shown trying to sell the Armour of God via auction. He has a secretly placed artificial bidder who's job is to artificially increase the bids by bidding a few hundred dollars more than the highest bidder. Although unexpected, the armour manages to get an astronomical bid by May Bannon. Happy with his grand fortune Jackie goes back to his hotel where he discovers an entire bunch of messages from Alan informing Jackie of his arrival.

When Jackie and Alan meet, Alan out of desperation (although unwillingly) tells Jackie of an evil cult which has kidnapped Laura and are demanding the Armour of God as ransom. Jackie at this sees the opportunity to remind Alan about their past failed friendship.

Jackie decides to aid Alan in rescuing Laura from the evil religious cult that has stolen her in hopes of Asian Hawk delivering the last three pieces of the Armor to them as they have the other two. With this information, Jackie is able to convince May Bannon and her father to borrow the three pieces with the promise that Jackie would return with all five to their collector.

Behind the scenes

  • This film was shot in former Yugoslavia: in Zagreb (Dolac Central Market, Upper town, Trnje (near the then-unfinished building of Croatian Radio Television), Croatia and in Predjamski grad near Postojna, Slovenia.
  • During filming, one scene called for him to jump from a wall to a tree branch. The first take went perfectly, but Chan wasn't satisfied and had wanted to do the scene again. On his second jump, the branch broke and he fell 150 feet to the ground below. His head hit a rock, cracking his skull and shooting a piece of bone up into his brain. Chan was flown to the hospital and was in surgery 8 hours later. As a result, he now has a permanent hole in his head, filled by a plastic plug, and slight hearing loss in one ear. Chan took a month to recuperate and toured across Europe. During this time, producer Raymond Chow allowed Chan to let his hair grow, which explains the continuity problem of his short hair at the beginning of the film, and his longer hair from the point of the tree stunt onwards.
  • In one scene Jackie's character infiltrates the cult's hideout and rescues Alan and Laura. Laura accidentally addresses Jackie as "Kong-sang". Later, when Jackie tries to leave Alan in the prison by himself, Alan addresses him as "Chan Kong-Sang". Chan Kong-Sang is actually Jackie Chan's real life birth name. In the dubbed US version of the film, these errors are covered by changing "Kong-sang" to "cowboy". In another dubbed version, the 'Kong-Sang' is left in but explained by Jackie that only she is allowed to call him that, turning the name into a nickname between lovers.
  • In an interview on the Hong Kong Legends DVD (region 2), Chan discusses his action style in reference to the final fight scene, in which he battles with four women. He describes the illogical nature of fight scenes in some US films, in which the protagonist fights multiple enemies one at a time, whilst the others stand around off camera, waiting. Chan strove to add realism by fighting all four enemies at once.[1]

Box office

At the Hong Kong box office, Armour of God was Chan's biggest hit up to that point, grossing HK $35,469,408 in its theatrical run.

Critical reception

The film received a rating of 80% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Miramax version

In the US, Armour of God did not get a theatrical release. The film's sequel, Armour of God II: Operation Condor (1991) did receive a theatrical release under the simplified title Operation Condor. Armour of God was subsequently released direct-to-video by Miramax Films, but the title was somewhat confusingly changed to Operation Condor 2: The Armor of the Gods. A new musical score was created for this release, and English dubbing (with the participation of Chan) was also recorded.

Nine minutes of cuts were made to the Miramax version, including:

  • The concert scene of Jackie's band, 'The Losers', an allusion to 70's Cantopop band The Wynners.
  • Jackie's dream sequence.
  • The scene in which May (played by Lola Forner), disguised as a prostitute, encounters a monk who wants to sleep with her.
  • An extended version of the slapstick sequence in which Alan (played by Alan Tam) hides in May's room. The scene also includes Laura (while under the cult's spell) attempting to seduce Jackie.

These same cuts were evident in the Spanish Region 2 release, but DVD releases in Hong Kong, Australia and the rest of Europe are uncut.

Cast

  • Jackie Chan - Jackie aka Asian Hawk
  • Alan Tam - Alan
  • Maria Dolores Forner - May Bannon
  • Rosamund Kwan - Laura
  • Bozidar Smiljanic - Count Bannon
  • Ken Boyle - Grand Wizard
  • John Ladalski - Lama
  • Robert O'Brien - witch doctor
  • Boris Gregoric - Jackie's representative at auction
  • Alicia Shonte - Amazonian woman
  • Vivian Wycliffe - Amazonian woman
  • Stephanie Evans - Amazonian woman
  • Linda Denley - Amazonian woman
  • Marcia Chisholm - Amazonian woman
  • Bo Svensson - Munk
  • William Williams - fighter
  • Anthony Chan - band member
  • Kenny Bee - band member
  • Bennett Pang - band member
  • Clarence Fok Yiu-leung (aka Clarence Ford) - band member
  • Carina Lau - band member
  • Danny Yip - band member
  • Wayne Archer - monk (uncredited)
  • Gary Carter - beard monk (uncredited)
  • Bo Svenson - monk (uncredited)

Awards and nominations

Comics

There are Spartan X comics based on Armour of God.

See also

References

  1. ^ Armour of God, Jackie Chan interview (DVD featurette). [DVD]. Hong Kong Legends, UK. 1986 (film), 2001 (DVD). 

External links

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