Millionaires’ Express (1986)

Rating: D+

Dir: Samo Hung
Star: Samo Hung, Yuen Biao, Rosamund Kwan, Eric Tsang

This plays like one of those all-star films from the 1960’s, such as Around the World in 80 Days, with much the same flaws. You’ll find yourself perpetually going “Isn’t that…?”, and the answer usually is, “Yes, it is”, with people like Cynthia Rothrock, Yukari Oshima and Richard Norton popping up to kick butt briefly. The plot mostly revolves around Samo’s good-hearted pimp, who stops a train in his town, in order to profit from the derailed passengers, only to discover a bunch of bandits are also keen to get their hands on a map carried thereon. There’s a lot of goofy humour, with the usual mixed results for Western eyes, and none of the characters get enough screen time to engage more than casual interest, as we whizz frantically from one set to the next.

It’s a combination of too much information, and not enough: why are Rothrock and Norton working with a Chinese bandit gang? Nowhere is this confusion more annoyingly apparent than the end, when we chop from one fight to another, destroying any sense of flow or even coherence. While there are some great moments – Biao’s casual cartwheel off the roof of a burning house is worthy of a Jackie Chan film – you can see most of them in The Best of Martial Arts, and the overall result is a mess, trying to cram too much in and lacking any emotional impact as a result.