The Man from Hong Kong

The Man from Hong Kong (known in the US as The Dragon Flies) is a 1975 action film that marked the first Australian-Hong Kong co-production filmed in both nations. It was directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and starred Jimmy Wang Yu and George Lazenby.

The Man from Hong Kong
Directed byBrian Trenchard-Smith
Produced byJohn Fraser
Raymond Chow
Written byBrian Trenchard-Smith
StarringJimmy Wang Yu
George Lazenby
Rosalind Speirs
Frank Thring
Hugh Keays-Byrne
Roger Ward
Sammo Hung
Rebecca Gilling
Grant Page
Bill Hunter
Music byNoel Quinlan
CinematographyRussell Boyd
Edited byPeter Cheung
Ron Williams
The Movie Company
Golden Harvest
Distributed byCathay (Asia)
British Empire Films (Australia)
Rank (UK)
20th Century Fox (USA)
Umbrella Entertainment
Release date
  • 31 July 1975 (1975-07-31) (Hong Kong)
  • August 1975 (1975-08) (U.S.)
  • 5 September 1975 (1975-09-05) (Australia)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryHong Kong
Box officeA$1.1 million (Australia)[2]

The film was later restored by the Australian National Film and Sound Archive.[3]


At Ayers Rock, undercover detectives arrest Hong Kong drug courier Win Chan (Sammo Hung). At Royal Hong Kong Police Police Training School at Wong Chuk Hang where a hang glider piloted by Australian Caroline Thorne (Rosalind Speirs) runs out of air currents and lands on the parade square. She is met by Inspector Fang Sing Leng (Jimmy Wang Yu) who has coincidentally been chosen to travel to Sydney to interview Win Chan.

Fang is met by Detectives Gross (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and Taylor (Roger Ward) who have been unable to obtain any information from Win Chan. Fang uses traditional but illegal police methods to elicit cooperation from Win Chan. Fang discovers the connection between Win Chan's drug imports and Sydney "colourful identity" (gangster) Jack Wilton (George Lazenby). Inspector Fang becomes a target of death by various firearms, edged weapons, explosives, fast cars, a crossbow and martial arts by both Australian and Chinese criminals. He also reacquaints himself with Caroline who trains him how to fly a hang glider at Stanwell Park that the Inspector uses to gain access to Wilton's crime headquarters.



The first Australian/Hong Kong co-production was made during the height of the kung fu film craze and the Australian New Wave. According to some sources, Wang Yu directed parts of the film.[4] Trenchard Smith says Yu was difficult to deal with and shooting was hard - "there was a great clash of personalities, coupled with the inevitable mutual distrust that occurs in a co-production where both sides think the other is trying to rip them off."[1] However he says John Fraser of Greater Union was very supportive and encouraging. The film's team of producers also included the late David Hannay.

Trenchard-Smith received nine offers of co-production after the film's release.[5]

The film was originally budgeted at $450,000 but increased when the producers wanted more action sequences and a hit song on the soundtrack. British band Jigsaw recorded "Sky High" which was used over the opening credits. It went number one in several countries.[1] Production funding came from Greater Union, Golden Harvest and the Australian Film Development Corporation. The film's production company, The Movie Company, was owned 50% by Trenchard-Smith and 50% by Greater Union.

Wang Yu was injured in a hang gliding sequence whilst Lazenby had severe burns on his hands during a fight scene.[6]


At a screening of a restored print in Sydney, Trenchard-Smith said the film didn't do as well as was hoped due to its R adults only rating. However US rights were sold for $200,000 and at Cannes the film sold around the world for a minimum of $500,000 putting it in profit even before it had been released.[1]

The film was released in the US as The Dragon Flies.


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 100% based on 6 reviews, and an average rating of 7.2/10.[7]

Andrew L. Urban from Urban Cinefile called it "one of the few Australian made kung fu action movies and is also notable for its cinematography by Russell Boyd, who went on to win the Oscar for his work on Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.[8]

The Los Angeles Times called it "a slick, shallow, well-photographed Australian-Chinese movie which has substituted do-it-yourself decapitation with mass demolition."[9]

The Observer called it "a witless display of non-stop mayhem."[10]


Peter Cheung won the Golden Horse Film Festival Award for Best Film Editing.

See also


  1. Richard Brennan, 'Brian Trenchard-Smith', Cinema Papers, Dec-Jan 1979-80 p 600
  2. 'Australian Films At the Australian Box office' Film Victoria accessed 28 September 2012
  3. "Kodak/Atlab". National Film & Sound Archive.
  4. p.218 Hardy, Phil & the British Film Institute The BFI Companion to Crime 1997 Continium International Publishing Group
  5. p.237 Reade, Eric History and Heartburn: The Saga of Australian Film 1896-1978 1981 Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
  6. Teo, Stephen. "Australia's Role in the Global Kung Fu Trend: The Man from Hong Kong | Senses of Cinema". Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  7. "The Man from Hong Kong (The Dragon Flies) (1975)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  8. Urban, Andrew L. (20 March 2018). "Man from Hong Kong, The: DVD". Urban Cinefile. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  9. Gross, Linda (20 August 1975). "MOVIE REVIEW: Mass Demolition in 'Dragon Flies'". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. pp. e15. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  10. More about Nashville: CINEMA Milne, Tom. The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 05 Oct 1975: 21.
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