A Queen’s Ransom

鱷潭群英會 | The International Assassin | Operation Regina

Reviewed by   |  Jun 26, 2024

Jimmy Wang Yu, Angelo Mao, a very young Bolo Yeung, and one-time Bond, George Lazenby teamed up for this Golden Harvest-produced attempt at cracking the international market. While not entirely successful, and much more a slow-burn spy thriller than the action blowout the combination of stars promises, ‘A Queen’s Ransom’ is still an oddly (and almost forgotten) entertaining curio from the 1970s. Mostly.

Wang Yu, Yeung, and Lazenby lead a gang of no goods, who plot to threaten the life of the then visiting to Hong Kong, Queen of England. If their ransom isn’t met then they’ll assassinate the visiting Royalty: if they can stop fighting themselves first and get their act together. The Hong Kong police have their eye on the gang and there’s a sub-plot featuring Mao’s exiled South Asian Princess that seems at odds with the main plot. Proceedings amble along rather sluggishly and confusingly for the first half (save for a brief scrap between Wang Yu and Yeung) before exploding in a surfeit of satisfyingly violent action in the last half hour.

While the stars, particularly Lazenby (as a brutish ‘Oirish terrorist!) are on good form this isn’t theirs or Golden Harvest’s finest hour. While it’s a reasonable attempt to create a spy thriller with plenty of intrigue rather than an all-out martial arts film, ‘A Queen’s Ransom’ is just too ploddingly plotted and haphazardly put together to sustain any kind of tension. The tone varies from silliness to sleaze which while still entertaining frustrates one when they’re expecting spy hi-jinks and fast action. In fact, one gets restless waiting for the action to erupt but when it does it’s thankfully pretty awesome.

There are some cool fights you would expect from the like of Wang Yu and Yeung, and even Lazenby (continuing his run of Golden Harvest-produced flicks that also included ‘The Man from Hong Kong’ and ‘The Shrine of Ultimate Bliss’) shows he’s got some moves in his scenes. There’s also a heap of fierce fire-powered machine gun action that mercifully livens things up, and it’s certainly unique and entertaining watching Angel Mao (‘Hapkido’, ‘When Taekwondo Strikes’) mow down folks with a big machine gun.

While the Hong Kong locations add production value (and look great thanks to Eureka’s new restoration) the film can’t quite rise above its B-movie trappings. This in part due to a good amount of stock footage of the actual Queen really visiting Hong Kong (in 1975), which is often jarringly cut in. However, it does mean she featured in her own Hong Kong action film!

Unfortunately, ‘A Queen’s Ransom’ is just a bit too slowly paced and unevenly plotted to fully engage and while there is some enjoyable sleaze and action to give it a fun B-movie vibe, there just isn’t enough to make it as fun as it should be.

Eureka Entertainment recently released ‘A Queen’s Ransom’ on Blu-ray and you can order it now from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
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