In this second Mad Mission adventure, the unlikely partnership of master thief ‘King’ Kong (Sam Hui), bumbling detective Kodyjack (Karl Maka) and Superintendent Ho (Sylvia Chang) are sent undercover to bust an underworld diamond deal. In between, the team must tangle with lethal transformer robots, evade American hit man Filthy Harry, avoid an escaped mental patient from the FBI (a hilarious performance by legendary action director Tsui Hark) and defuse some very sensitive time bombs strapped to their bodies. Mix in some of the most amazing chase scenes in the entire series, and you’ve got the maddest mission yet!
Known in Asia as Aces Go Places, the Mad Mission films became an international phenomenon by combining broad humor, explosive action and truly spectacular stunts for one of the most popular crime-comedy series in Hong Kong cinema history.
Mad Mission, Part 2: Aces Go Places 6.0
eyelights: the ambitious stunts. the hyper performances.
eyesores: the nonsensical script. the dinky robot sequences.
As the title would suggest, ‘ Mad Mission, Part 2: Aces Go Places’ is the second film in the popular ‘Mad Mission’ (or ‘Aces Go Places’, depending on which version you’re watching) franchise. It is very much in the same league as the first one: It serves up frantic action, daredevil stunts, slapstick comedy, corny humour, enthusiastic -if inept- performances, plot holes galore and a utter lack of logic.
It just doesn’t make any sense. Our hero, Sam (or “King Kong”), gets attacked by a robot for no apparent reason (yes, you read right!), gets caught up with a bank thief but doesn’t realize it, then unknowingly brings his friend into the thief’s scheme and they all go on the run from the cops to try to find the bad guys. It’s mostly an excuse for a variety of car and motorcycle stunts, many of which aren’t directed especially well even as they’re executed with much enthusiasm and derring-do.
I think that this sort of film, popular as it is, likely doesn’t work particularly well with crowds older than the pre-teen set: everything is served up at breakneck speed, from the dialogue to the zingers to the action to the twists to the stunts; there’s no time for subtleties or nuances, or intricacies that usually works best with adults. Of course, it may also have been particularly perfect for the kids of that era, the early ’80s,, as today’s kids are much more sophisticated.
I did enjoy a few bits in this picture, though, such as the Clint-Eastwood lookalike who serves as one of the more menacing villains of the piece (and who is dubbed “Filthy Harry”), the pace of the picture and the zest with which it is delivered , as well as the efforts put into making the action original and/or exciting. Granted, ‘Mad Mission 2’ fails on a technical level, but you have to give points for bravura. Plus which their attempts are more successful than in the original film.
In fact, because of this, I kind of preferred it to the first entry in the series – if not for bits that heavily featured attack robots, I would probably have liked it more. But these lame-@$$ robots were neither credible as weapons nor did the sequences ever get off the ground: Sam in a melee with a large transformer-like robot? BS! Toy-like robot rejects duking it out against each other? Total rubbish that only a 6-year-old could watch!
But the film has tons of fun moments, and I can see why some people still dig it, particular if they grew up on it: nostalgia does funny things to one’s good taste. As cinema, however, it fails so majestically on so many fronts that it’s difficult to recommend it to the average viewer. If one wants to tap into one’s inner child, it’s the perfect vehicle. If one wants a safe babysitter for a bunch of kids, it’s a cheap way to go. But, as a serious film experience? One would be mad to consider it.
Date of viewing: May 13, 2013