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Jimmy Wang Yu
Jimmy Wang Yu,
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Long before Jackie Chan took on the IRA in the fantastic action thriller, The Foreigner, his previous workplace had already tackled such a subject with Jimmy Wang Yu, Charles Heung and Angela Mao Ying in the lead. Golden Harvest was still quite a young studio at the time of this release, with big boss Raymond Chow wanting to reach out to a bigger, more international audience. And what better way to do so than having James Bond himself, George Lazenby, play a Northern Irish republican out to kill the Queen on a visit to Hong Kong in 1975...
An interesting move considering Northern Ireland was at the height of the troubles then!
Starting with an explanation of the refugee situation in Hong Kong, and on the Queen's visit, the film moves along at a snails pace like a 60's spy drama with little excitement but for a quick skirmish between Wang Yu and the great Bolo Yeung, who are on the same side but just don't like each other. It takes just over another 20 minutes for the next one, with Wang Yu facing off against a gang of sword wielding guys before getting shot into the water, leaving Bolo to continue with the action.
While the story may be complex, and well acted, the film does fail to grip its audience quick enough. But if there is one thing A Queen's Ransom impresses on, its the cast involved (including Queen Elizabeth herself). While it may be long-drawn and slow in comparison to other Wang Yu/Mao Ying team ups, the film still entertains with its who's-who of Hong Kong faces, as well as (when it gets round to it) the action scenes!
The action is handled by Yasuhiro Shikamura, a veteran of the Hong Kong film industry having worked with Wang Yu on a number of projects, and other hits such as A Killers Romance, God Of Gamblers, Killer Constable, and Jackie Chan's Magnificent Bodyguards, and while it has its moments here both in martial arts and gun-play, and a great finale, there is certainly nothing spectacular going on.
Overall: Its a slow burner, but fairly ambitious for its time, which makes A Queens Ransom an interesting watch at least once...
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