The Thirty Million Rush ***1/2 (out of 5) (1985)

Cast: Karl Maka, Brigitte Lin, Paula Tsui, Eric Tsang

Directed by Karl Maka

THE THIRTY MILLION RUSH is a slapstick farce with obvious inspiration from the comedies and caper flicks from American fluff films of the late 50s and early 60s. Liberal use of splitscreen shots which follow different characters, musical interludes which would almost constitute music videos within the film, and the broadest of slapstick comedic devices define most of the elements which writer/director/star Karl Maka uses to push this comedy along. Although Karl would continue to star in films and even produce them up until the early 90s, this is his last directorial effort, but it's a good one.

The plot follows several characters with intersecting storylines, but is developed by adding a new character into the mix one at a time so it is easy to follow. In Hong Kong, the money becomes worn and old relatively quickly, and is incinerated regularly as new money is introduced into the public. At one of the sites for money retirement, a crewman concocts a plan to switch bags of phony money with that of the real money in a way that no one would ever suspect. He enlists two confidants, who determine they need someone with a criminal mind to see the plan through. Along the way, they are followed by a nun with a need to save them from trouble, a cop with a vendetta against the main crook, and a crazy assortment of others who are needed for the plot to succeed.

As I stated earlier, the comedy is very broad, and the style of the film does take some getting used to as there are many occurences which defy the laws of physics to say the least. However, THE THIRTY MILLION RUSH is almost impossible to dislike due to the rambunctious energy that never lets up and a cast of eccentric characters that play off of each other in amusing ways. Not only are all stops pulled for the comedy, but it also applies to the action as well. This isn't an action film in the traditional sense, and although Brigitte Lin is one of the main players, not much in the way of kung fu either. But there are quite a bit of breathtaking stunts that occur throughout the progress of the story, with a particularly memorable free-for-all fight aboard a boat suspended in mid-air near the end of the film that is worth the price of viewing alone.

With slapstick farces, I usually state that a certain film may fit the bill if you are in the mood for one. However, in the case of THE THIRTY MILLION RUSH, the film is so zany and energetic that if you weren't in the mood at the beginning of the film, chances are you will be soon thereafter. While it may not be laugh-out-loud hilarious, the frenetic pace, amazing physical stunts, and likeable characters deliver more than enough of the necessary goods to be thoroughly entertaining.

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