High Road to China (1983) is one movie that I spent more time reading the reviews of than actually watching it. Most of the reviews are right, it’s an Indiana Jones wannabe, not done very well. But all said and done, it’s worth a one time watch simply because they don’t make ‘em like these anymore, ans especially if you are a fan of either Tom Selleck or Bess Armstrong.
What I liked…
- Bess Armstrong is perfect as the strong willed heroine. She can shoot, fight, and even fly an airplane. She can take care of herself and doesn’t the hero to protect or save her.
- A rousing adventure. Yay. When was the last time we saw a good old rousing adventure where folks take off to strange new lands to save somebody or even just for the thrill of the journey? In a world of franchises and superhero fatigue, this comes across as a breath of (old) fresh air.
- Locations and aerial shots. Tired of studios and green screens? This has some super aerial shots and panoramas captured well.
What I didn’t like…
- Tom Selleck. He’s a perpetual drunk and plays the type of character nobody would love and with nothing to redeem. Why would any woman fall for him?
- Too many caricatures about how Hollywood perceives Asia and the east.
- Bad guys don’t get their comeuppance.
- Unsatisfying ending. I mean all that trouble and mission unaccomplished. Unless there was a sequel (or franchise) that never got made.