Aces Go Places V (1989)

Directed by
Aces have mostly gone to other places by this point
Reviewed by Simon on 2021-04-10

King Kong and Baldy are hired by a rich Thai man to rescue his bride, which turns out very much NOT to be what she wants herself. They fall out over whether they should take the money anyway or honour her wish for freedom and don't speak for 3 years, until a pair of thieves disguised as them steal a valuable Chinese antique - right from under the noses of the gweilos that were in the process of stealing it themselves.

Several years have elapsed since the previous entry in the ACES GO PLACES series and much has changed in the interim, such as Sylvia Chang moving to Canada and taking Baldy Jr. with her. Sally Yeh doesn't appear to have hung around either, as Ellen Chan now occupies her position as King Kong's doting follower.

The film introduces new characters such as sibling thieves played by Leslie Cheung and Nina Li and Chinese Rambo (Conan Lee), which makes it more of an ensemble film, missing the character dynamics of the trio that were the core of the series up to now. To some extent it continues the trend set by Aces Go Places IV by being more focussed on telling a story, with relatively few random gags or diversions. Along with the absence of gadgets and less conspicuous 80's fashion it is definitely the least "Aces Go Places" film of the series.

With Lau Kar-Leung directing and Lau Kar-Wing on action director duties it's probably not surprising that the film's action shifts away from crazy stunts towards martial arts, and it has some pretty good fight scenes. It was one of the earliest appearances by Mark Houghton, and he doesn't waste the opportunity to show what he can do. The gweilo villains make it feel a bit like the script for a generic 80's actioner has been repurposed as an ACES GO PLACES - if different actors had been available it could probably have served just as well as the backbone of a Tiger Cage or Tiger On The Beat sequel. I'm not sure the main villain would have spent the entire film stroking a white cat glove puppet then though.

There's enough of their characters in Sam Hui and Karl Maka that it does still feel like an ACES GO PLACES film though, albeit one that has moved on with the times. Viewed as a sequel it might be a bit of a let down when, but as a late 80's action comedy it's pretty good - though far from outstanding.

Final ranking for the series: 2 > 4 > 1 > 5 > 3.