Directed by: Anthony Bushell
Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Length: 90 mins
Released: 18 November 2013
Cat No: CDR12857
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Terror of the Tongs
Christopher Lee turns in a typically strong performance as Chung King, the leader of the Hong Kong division of The Red Dragon Tong in... Read More
Christopher Lee turns in a typically strong performance as Chung King, the leader of the Hong Kong division of The Red Dragon Tong in this little-seen tale of corruption, torture, murder and revenge from Hammer Studios. Chung will kill anyone who stands in the way of the slave and opium trade and murders the daughter of a British sea captain (Geoffrey Toone) who vows revenge. Violence follows and the bodies begin to pile up.
For all Hammer Films were synonymous with looming castles and supernatural dread, their best work is to be found in their non-Gothic films, of which Terror of the Tongs is an especially good example; unavailable for many years, it's one of the venerable studio's most entertaining efforts.
It's set in early twentieth century Hong Kong. Sturdy British sea captain Jackson Sale (Geoffrey Toone) dismisses tales of a criminal syndicate called the Red Dragon Tong until their wicked machinations affect him personally. He vows vengeance but since the Tong is headed by Christopher Lee at his silkiest, you can guess that this will prove tricky.
We should, in the interests of sensitivity, note that many of the Chinese characters are played by Europeans. If you can get beyond that, though, this is tremendous fun, staffed by gloating villains who say things like, 'you underestimate the Oriental mind, captain' (the fiends!) and decorated with white slavery, 'exotic' dancing and opium addled assassins. It's perfect, in its own way. Here's hoping we get The Stranglers of Bombay next.