Unfortunately, even several of the action sequences are marred by the constant mugging. Chan is always winking, grinning, and making faces for the camera like a high school kid in front of a movie camera for the first time. While his enthusiasm for pleasing his fans is admirable, the mugging bogs down this movie. It also reveals quite clearly the limited acting abilities of virtually everyone involved in the project, including Chan himself.
Jackie Chan in Operation Condor.
(©1997 Dimension Films. All rights reserved.)
However, this movie does contain several absolutely stunning sequences. The last 20 minutes of the movie is incredible. This sequence features a gravity-defying fight aboard metal panels that tilt like teeter totters as Chan and his opponents kick and throw punches. The sequence culminates in a one-of-a-kind fight in a wind tunnel where the opponents must battle hurricane force winds. The combatants fly through the air and become pinned against walls. This sequence is nothing like anything you've ever seen before.
Operation Condor also contains a great chase sequence where Chan is pursued by a dozen steel grey cars that swerve and lurch behind him like a school of barracudas. On motorcycle, Chan plows over windshields and through warehouses. And the movie's opening sequence features a you've-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it stunt where Chan jumps inside a huge cushioned ball and rolls down a mountain!
But unfortunately, when the movie slows down, we get some insufferably goofy comedy that threatens to sink the entire movie. To be fair, Chan's movies nearly always allow comedy to surface in the action scenes. In Project A, Part 2, for example, Chan designed an elaborate homage to Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr., where the front side of a building crashes on top of the unsuspecting Chan--but he remains unscathed as a window opening drops over him. In the wind tunnel sequence of Operation Condor, Chan returns to Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. as Chan fights the wind by leaning forward at a precarious angle as he struggles across the floor. In sequences like this one, Chan is doing what he does best--working some good sight gags into his elaborate stunts. But unfortunately most of the other comedy in Operation Condor is painful to watch and rarely funny.
If you can tolerate the lame comedic sequences, you'll have lots of fun watching the action stunts. Unlike First Strike, which rarely let Chan really break loose with his kung fu moves, Operation Condor is filled with great fight scenes that will frequently suck your jaw to the floor. Without the weak comedy, Operation Condor would be one of the best Jackie Chan movies ever.
A Dimension Films Presentation