Stoner (1974: Huang Feng)
This is a rather incompetent movie that gets worse the more you watch it with plot holes, bad acting, some really cheesy scenes and messy action. This stars a former one-time Bond George Lazenby as an Australian cop named Stoner looking for the source of a new highly addictive drug called “The Happy Pill.”. Meanwhile a Taiwanese cop (Angela Mao) is assigned to figure out why a retired ship that should only be useful for scrap metal is overpaid for (everyone knows it is used for smuggling) by Mr. Chin played by Takagi Jogi as another evil Japanese has to be one of the more stupid bad bosses as he appears to be using corporate money in Taiwan. He also fronts a Taoist healing facility that is actually getting everyone hooked on its medicine. Lazenby is a basher not an experienced fighter using flailing arms, giant windups and novice kicks. He was learning on the job and he takes a lot of falls and punishment though he still looks a bit awkward. I still like his backfist though. Angela Mao is underused here, but luckily the finale fight scene between her and Whang In-shik is pretty good. If this movie did not have that I would probably think it is best to avoid this altogether. There are many rumors about this film at one point starring both Bruce Lee and Sonny Chiba but I have found no primary sources stating that this is true.
Shout! Factory’s The Angela Mao Ying Collection
: It looks that this print might suffer from some pal-to-ntsc conversion issue as the fight scenes have a bit too much blur. It comes with both the Mandarin and English dub (sounds original.) The back of the case lists these both as 2.0 (NOTE I need to double check this as I forgot to bring the set in.) The English subtitles are not dubtitles. It does not come with a trailer (the Joy Sales R0/NTSC release does have a trailer.)
Some notes (which will find themselves in a review if I write one):
[I’m thinking with all the information below it might be easier to get off a full review on this]
That’s a big mole on Sammo’s nose. I think Sammo and Jackie traded it for a few films in the early 70s.
Angela Mao has long and short hair here just like in The Tournament
The script here is weird as it really does not explain certain issues it should: what is the relationship of Melanie to Stoner? Is Mao Ying’s character at one point supposed to be thought of as a boy? Would anyone in a cage be thinking of Betty Ting Pei when Mao Ying is right there? OK, that one was more of a joke, but still seriously?
The English dub has him as Australian but the subtitles state he is American. Does the Mandarin dub actually state that?
Joy Sales Legendary Collection (1:49:24): does not have English dub does have Photo Gallery and Trailer (3:57m) The subtitles are improved on this new release.
Youtube has movie as 1:45:18 (it does not look good, thank goodness; can Shout! go after youtube to shut that down since it is a different print?)
City on Fire Review
: Seriously 8 out of 10?
: no idea if the hair issue is true or much else in this article.
George Lazenby Interview
with Bey Logan (KFC link of Impact Magazine issue 97 January 2000): An interesting part is where he tackles one canard (which wikipedia repeats) “George Lazenby: There never was any three picture deal! After Bruce died. I thought that was that, then I got a call form Raymond Chow saying “Look, you’ve got $10,000 of my money (paid as a deposit for Lazenby participation in Game Of Death). He wanted me to make three films for Golden Harvest.”
The Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts Movies of the 1970s
(Dr. Craig D. Reid): this has a capsule review in this book (a lot of Angela Mao films from this era are not described with capsule reviews though they are listed in the back) but there are several problems with errors in this section including repeating the canard I mentioned above though he states it was a four-picture contract. He also bizarrely states that Lazenby was dropped only to be brought back because of the success of several co-productions that just happened to be filmed and released after Stoner (since this is impossible he is obviously wrong.) He also writes that Lazenby got the role of Bond because of his fighting ability which is weird because Lazenby has stated he had no fighting ability and was expecting Bruce Lee to train him for Game of Death. After a little research on that point it seems it is even weirder: Lazenby during a screen audition accidently punched a stunt coordinator (Wikipedia has this, its source is from Inside On Her Majesty's Secret Service DVD extra.) Clearly Reid is wrong. He also repeats the oft told tale that Bruce Lee was going to star in this which I have read many places but have not found a primary source on this.
Japanorama interview with Sonny Chiba
(youtube): Now what is interesting about this is that Chiba talks about going to Hong Kong for two days to meet with Bruce Lee but Bruce Lee had died (so this is true), but says nothing about a potential movie but about interesting conversations. I’m getting the feeling that the rumor about Chiba initially being in Stoner is false.