Contents of Issue #4 Contents of Issue #4 [Welcome] [Features] [In Focus] [Reviews] [Info]
Operation Condor
  [rating: 2½ of 4 stars]movie review by Gary Johnson

Operation Condor was originally released in Hong Kong in 1991 and only now is it receiving a wide release in the United States. Like Super Cop, which was also released in the U.S. long after it played in Hong Kong, Operation Condor is the sequel to a movie that never played in the U.S.--Armour of God. But don't worry: if you haven't seen Armour of God, you'll have no problem following Operation Condor (which is called Operation Condor: Armour of God II in most other countries).

Operation Condor bears a strong resemblance to the Indiana Jones movies. The opening sequence, where Jackie Chan steals a large jewel from a stone idol deep within a cave, should be very familiar to anyone who has seen the opening sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark. But Jackie Chan opts for much more comedy than you'll find in the Indiana Jones movies, and that's one of the problems with this movie. As long as Chan gives us pure action, Operation Condor piles on one stunning sequence after another. But unfortunately Chan also gives us tons of annoying mugging and lame comedic sequences. And he repeats the same jokes over and over. For example, in one scene, Chan pulls the bath towel off of a woman so as to distract his opponents. Well, the joke isn't particularly funny the first time, but then the same joke gets repeated at least three more times.

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.

Go to the Operation Condor Web site

Go to the Dimension Films Web site

A Dimension Films Presentation


JackieJackie Chan
AdaCarol Cheng
ElsaEva Cobo de Garcia
MomokoShoko Ikeda
AdolfAlfred Brel Sanchez
TaszaJonathan Isgar
AmonDaniel Mintz
Duke ScapioBozidar Smiljanic
Directed byJackie Chan
Produced byLeonaed Ho
Screenplay byJackie Chan
Edward Tang
Director of PhotographyWong Ngok Tai
Production SupervisorsWillie Chan
Edward Tang
Editorial ConsultantRod Dean
Music byStephen Endelman
Executive ProducersRaymond Chow
Co-directorChan Chi Wah
Production ManagersAlice Chan
Cheph Chaang
Top Welcome Features In Focus Reviews Info