Action Movie Fanatix Review: Operation Condor

On His Most Dangerous Mission Ever, The World’s Toughest Secret Agent Isn’t Going In Alone.

Starring: Jackie Chan, Carol Cheng, Eva Cobo De Garcia, Ikeda Shoko

Director: Jackie Chan

1991  |  92 Minutes  |  PG-13

“African vampires don’t like Chinese blood.” – Condor

OK, so get this.  The movie that was released as Operation Condor in the U.S. was actually the sequel to the movie that was called Operation Condor 2 in the U.S.  Huh!?!  I doubt it really matters much.

The United Nations has asked secret agent Condor (Jackie Chan) to recover Nazi gold lost during World War II in an African desert.  Condor is joined on his adventure by three female sidekicks.  Groups of terrorists are also searching for the gold and are in hot pursuit of Condor and the ladies to steal a key and a map that are essential in finding the gold.

The story is something like James Bond meets Indiana Jones meets Jackie Chan.  In the end it is really not much more than an excuse to see Jackie do what he does best.  The intrigue isn’t anywhere near James Bond standards and the level of adventure doesn’t even touch Indiana Jones but the Jackie Chan fun is all here.

Not that I really need to explain to anyone reading this just how truly amazing Jackie Chan is but some of the things he does in Operation Condor are absolutely mind boggling.  It had been a little while since I had watched Jackie Chan in anything and he just blew me away… again.  Jackie’s creative martial arts choreography and acrobatics are in top form, sometimes even treating us to instant replay shots.  At this point in his career he was literally risking his life for his craft.  Watching the blooper reel during the credits proves my point.  It’s no wonder he has more or less retired from this form of stunt work.

The opening scene has Condor fan gliding to a cave where he takes three giant emeralds from a fountain after the natives happily give him permission.  After that he dares take a drink of their water causing them to flip out.  Even though I could kind of see where the joke was going it was still a funny scene and the adventure part of it was actually pretty decent albeit quite short.

The next absolutely awe inspiring sequence is a chase scene.  Condor is trying to escape the terrorists.  He is on a little dirt bike and they are in four cars zipping all over the streets of Spain and ending in a warehouse.  I don’t really know what else to say about this whole scene other than to just do yourselves a favor and watch it.

Operation Condor wouldn’t be a Jackie Chan movie without his oddball sense of humor.  He always finds a way to make me laugh in his movies, even the more recent ones.  If anyone else got on film doing his goofy sound effects and facial expressions I would hate it and yet Jackie makes me laugh.  He is just a very interesting talent in this way.

I guess I should probably touch on the women in the film since their roles are kind of significant.  They are all beautiful, no question, but they are all bumbling fools.  It fits with the story and it isn’t done in a way that I was annoyed but it is clear that their only purpose is to give Condor someone to save over and over and to exacerbate him through it all.

The DVD cover doesn’t even remotely resemble anything in the movie.  There isn’t a single time where they all dress in black spandex.  The cover only shows two girls instead of three, although I realize that one of the three female characters is a much more minor part.  And the girls are never done up the way they look on the cover and the blonde even has a completely different, considerably longer hair style.

Any Jackie Chan fan will have a great time watching Operation Condor.  I haven’t seen a lot of his movies in quite some time so I can’t really rank Operation Condor against his others but without a doubt it is worth a watch and probably a purchase.