Stoner (HK 1974)

Rating: **
Cast: George Lazenby, Angela Mao, Samo Hung

Another bizarre early 1970's contemporary kung fu flick riding in the wake of Bruce Lee's "Enter The Dragon" (1973). A tall, lanky, and VERY 70's looking George Lazenby is a hot-headed Australian cop named Jack Stoner who's trying to trace the origin of a new super drug called "the happy pill." Sweet and demure Angela Mao is a Taiwanese cop who also gets assigned to the case, although her investigation is much more discreet (and she's oh-so-cute!). They both finally end up at the evil drug lord's mansion and beat everyone up in a blistering barrage of martial arts fisticuffs. The first hour is dreadfully dull, and even sinks into cheap thrill cheesecake land, but once the fighting starts, it becomes very interesting. Watching George Lazenby exchange blows with Hong Kong's finest is quite entertaining. His execution is surprisingly good, but he still looks rather goofy doing it (he's also a good two feet taller than anyone else in the film, which adds to his awkwardness). Not surprisingly, the highlight of the film is watching Angela Mao duke it out with one of the guys from the climax of "Hapkido" (1972). Although many of her moves are the same, her burning intensity and physical precision are a sheer delight to behold. Samo Hung also shows up as a gang leader with a REALLY nasty wart on his nose. He outclasses nearly all of the other fighers, even though Lazenby eventually beats him into the ground. Overall, a fairly entertaining slow starter with a slam-bang ending.