Aces Go Places IV: You Never Die Twice ★★★

Sylvia Chang, who's mostly been wasted in this series since halfway through the first entry, absolutely broke my heart at the end of this one, when it looks as though Karl Maka's Baldy has died. That Maka died as the result of a hypnotic experiment fueled by a prism that the guy with the burnt hand from Raiders of the Lost Ark had stolen from Baldy and Sam Hui after a series of car chases through New Zealand (and a certainly more than is reasonable amount of stunts involving a pre-school child) that turned him into an insane rampaging hulk leading to him accidentally electrocute himself with leftover props from Universal's Frankenstein set made no difference to my addled mind. Chang's stillness, in a film series that never stops moving, never stops talking, is one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

Ringo Lam directed this one, and he brings back the crazy vehicle stunts that worked so well in the second entry (with almost none of the gadgetry or special effects that Tsui Hark shoehorned into the third), not just the car chases, but a wild ride in a small airplane for Sam and Sally Yeh. But its that mixing of tones, leavening the series' typical farce with tragedy, that distinguished this one.

That, and the fact that the HK police play Interpol in a hockey match and the coaches are Kwan Tak-hing and Shih Kien, star and primary villain of a zillion of so Wong fei-hung films in the 50s and 60s.

Also: this film is the source of one of the big subtitle flubs David Bordwell cites, when the Raiders guy gives the Nazi salute, the sub reads "Hi Hitler!"