There’s some very good action, and not much else in Jackie Chan’s latest outing. Actually, the term “latest” doesn’t really apply, since Operation Condor is actually a trimmed and dubbed rerelease of his 1990 effort, Armor of God II.
This time out, Jackie is sort of a combination Indiana Jones/James Bond named, what else, Jackie. The paper thin plot involves a hoard of Nazi-stolen gold, hidden in the sands of the Sahara. Jackie is sent on behalf of the U.N. to retrieve the gold, before a seeming army of bad guys get there first.
Along the way, Jackie is teamed up with three semi-incompetent women. Ada (Carol Cheng) is a desert expert sent along to guide Jackie. Elsa (Eva Cobo De Garcia) is the granddaughter of one of the Nazi guards, and may know the secrets required to enter the Nazi vault. Momoko (Shoko Ikeda) is a ditzy wanderer searching for truth in the desert with only the companionship of her pet scorpion, Ding Ding.
There’s not much to any of the characters in Operation Condor. On Jackie’s part, he simply seems to be playing himself (not that there’s anything wrong with that). However, the rest of the cast is composed of very broad, and very bad, stereotypes.
But you don’t go to a Jackie Chan film for subtleties of character shading. You go for the action. And in this respect, Operation Condor delivers. It has the best collection of stunts and fight scenes out of the four of his films recently released in America, and some of the best in his entire body of work.
Unfortunately, that’s the only thing this film has going for it. The dubbing work is pathetic, as usual, and you get more plot by simply staring at the poster. However, if you’ve liked his previous films, you should get a kick out of seeing even more outrageous stunts here. If action is anathema to you, there’s nothing else of substance here.