Brain Trenchard-Smith proves himself an excellent action director with The Man From Hong Kong (The Dragon Flies in the US), a violent thriller-spoof very much of the 1970s. Interestingly, Trenchard-Smith shares the directing credit with star Jimmy Wang Yu on Hong Kong releases because of the latter’s contribution to the action sequences.Hong Kong kung fu star Wang seems to be enjoying himself immensely - sky diving, bedding two Australian women, driving fast cars and beating up a long line of henchmen belonging to Sydney crime boss Wilton (George Lazenby). The lazy quips and gentle spoofing sometimes sit uncomfortably with the extreme violence, especially Lazenby’s final comeuppance.
The fight scenes are endless, long and painful looking, but usually imaginatively shot (the opening takes place on Ayers Rock and throws in a helicopter chase for good measure). The same cannot be said for a clichéd montage of love moments between Wang and a young Rebecca Gibney that comes across like a 1970s cigarette commercial. Wang’s ability to casually bed white women and thwart a white Australian villain was progressive for 1975, although local cops (including Hugh Keays-Byrne) and racist jokes would have reassured Australian audiences.The film is boosted by Jigsaw’s hit theme song, “Sky High”, played to good effect over the opening (skydiving) and closing credits (when Wilton’s penthouse apartment is - literally - blown sky high).