Armour of God

The Armour of God is one of my favourite films of all time, and sums up everything I love about Jackie Chan. There is a fabulous chase scene, lots of silly humour, and some of the best fight scenes I have ever witnessed.

Jackie with crossbow

Jackie Chan plays the Asian Indiana Jones - Asian Hawk - a martial arts expert who never says no to danger. The action begins with Hawk stealing an artifact from an African tribe, and making an incredible escape from the angry warriors. An insane stunt in which Jackie was to jump from the top of the fort and grab the branch of a tree went wrong on the first take, with almost fatal consequences (Jackie definitely suffers for his art). In true Jackie style, he tried again, and the completed stunt (and the scary first take) appear in the DVD and video.

Shortly after, Hawk is contacted by an old friend, Alan (Alan Tam). Alan and Hawk used to be in a cheesy band called "the Losers", but had not spoken since Alan stole Hawk´s girlfriend Laura (Rosamund Kwan). Now Laura has been kidnapped, and the ransom is the Armour of God ( a set of five artifacts which include the piece Hawk stole - which he has already sold). The kidnappers are a sect of Satanic drug-dealing Monks with a fortress built into the living rock. They believe that the Armour of God will grant them tremendous power. Hawk, Alan and May (the daughter of a wealthy collector who lends Hawk two pieces of the Armour) set out to infiltrate the Monk´s hideout and get both Laura and the other pieces of the armour back.

In the madness that ensues, Jackie treats us to a brilliant car/bike chase, an outstanding example of how to defeat a seemingly endless stream of Monks, and a simply sublime fight against four super tough female warriors. This is topped off by Hawks´s insane escape plan - a free fall jump from the top of the rock fortress to the side of a hot air balloon manned by Alan. Could you ask for any more?

Jackie took over direction half way through the film, and the producer was Raymond Chow, so you can expect the action to be beautifully presented, and it is. I never fail to be impressed by Jackie´s ability to run up walls, and complete impossible looking jumps - and this movie is littered with lovely little examples of his skill. Jackie does all of his own stunts - and has the x-rays to prove it. As well as director, he acts as the stunt choreographer on virtually all of his films. This guarantees a certain standard in the combat sequences, particularly as Jackie always uses his own stunt team - the Jackie Chan Stunt Group. These guys are amazing, and probably the only ones fast enough to spar with Jackie.

All of the martial arts set-pieces were beautifully choreographed, and punctuated with Jackie's trademark humour, and the clip of Jackie and Alan singing as "the Losers" is a must see for all Jackie fans. The romantic comedy of errors between the main characters may not be to everyone's taste, and there are some very cheesy moments - but most are intentional. If you like martial arts, silly comedy and amazing driving stunts, you will love this movie.

Reviewed by Jenny Hill

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