Action Movie Fanatix Review: Eastern Condors

A Top Secret Target, A Mission That Doesn’t Exist, And A Team Of Commandos With Nothing In Common…
Except That Nobody Cares If They Die.

Starring: Sammo Hung, Yuen Wo Ping, Yuen Biao, Corey Yuen, Mina Joyce Godenzi, Yuen Wah

Director: Sammo Hung

1987  |  97 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Looks like I saved your neck again.” – Man Yen Chieh

Eastern Condors was one of the movies that first introduced me to Sammo Hung.  I have been a huge fan ever since and decided I should go back and check this one out again.

The U.S. Pentagon sends a group of Chinese prisoners as decoys for a secret mission to destroy a munitions dump the U.S. Army left in Vietnam when it pulled out of the war.  When a plane carrying the actual commandos crashes, Ming-Sun Tung (Sammo Hung) and Man Yen Chieh (Yuen Biao) lead the unsuspecting criminals on the mission of their lives, codename: Eastern Condors.  They get caught up with gorgeous Cambodian rebels, meet a cruel and giggly general and get tortured to within an inch of their lives.

I really enjoyed the story.  It is a completely ridiculous premise but it actually makes for a very entertaining action film.  I love the Vietnam war as a backdrop for action and war movies.  It is such an interesting conflict to me.  Eastern Condors doesn’t present the war or the aftermath of the war in a very realistic way but it also doesn’t make light of it.  It is just a backdrop for a really great action movie.

The tone of Eastern Condors starts off a little light hearted or comedic but by the end it gains an intensity that I didn’t expect from a Sammo Hung movie.  This isn’t the type of movie where every one of the good guys walks out unharmed while the bad guys are all laid to waste.  Many of our heroes die very brutal, bloody deaths.

Eastern Condors features some of the absolute best, cleanly shot martial arts and acrobatics I have ever seen in a movie.

This may be the best Sammo Hung we have ever seen.  He apparently had a personal trainer prior to filming to get into the best shape so that he was capable of doing the amazing stunts required.  The things he does always impress me but he is a legit badass here.  He utilizes fists, feet, machetes and machine guns and I don’t know if Sammo’s character’s little leaf arrow trick (I don’t really know how else to describe it without giving it away) is possible but it looks pretty sweet on screen.

Yuen Biao has some of the best acrobatics and martial arts of the entire movie.  The guy is just incredible.  I can’t believe a human being is capable of the things he pulls off here.  Many of his moves are shown in slow motion and it always looks as if he is doing all of the stunt work without the help of wires and certainly no help from CGI.  It’s all Yuen Biao.

The production values are quite good for something this old and considering it most likely did not have a Hollywood sized budget.  The explosions are huge, plentiful and real and the guns blaze away with realistic looking muzzle effects, smoke and squibs all present.

I really have nothing bad to say about Eastern Condors  It is an absolute must for any action fan.  It has everything you could want.  I was expecting something humorous with some good martial arts but what I got was a really solid action movie from start to finish.  I had a blast watching it again.