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Posts Tagged ‘Moon Lee’

Aka Iron Angels and Fighting Madam

The HK Government lays waste to Thailand’s Golden Triangle poppyfields’ production which was worth $30 million dollars. The drug lord and his executives are furious for this disruption by the police and seek immediate reprisals against them. One of the executives Madame Sue, a ruthless killer starts murdering the police personnel involved in the Thai raid as revenge but refuses to listen to orders from her boss to stop. She kills him and takes charge herself. Enter The Angels – a specialist highly skilled team consisting of Moon – a secretary during her offtime, Elaine, Saijo, the new recruit Alex and their boss John Keung. Their job is to take down Madame Sue and her cronies who are looking to expand their empire abroad.

This is a mixed bag of a movie. Whilst it has many incredibly exciting action sequences that you normally associate with this kind of genre from HK in the mid 80’s, it is hampered by the fact that it’s a stop/start affair. If you come into this movie expecting an all out action movie you’re going to get disappointed as the movie is partly a spy thriller too which slows down proceedings. There’s a little bit of comedy as well but mostly this is a straight forward action/spy movie. The action you do see however is probably one of the best in the girls-with-guns genre (it has been called the defining movie in the genre) and features some brutal martial arts action especially the short fight between Moon Lee (in her breakout role) and her usual nemesis Yukari Oshima at the climax. The raid on Madam Sue’s HQ by The Angels is particularly memorable with guns blazing in all directions and explosions going off capped off by two of the main characters leaping off the top of a house through some pine trees which breaks their fall. HK action at it’s very best. The sequence even has Saijo dangling one handed on a helicopter ladder whilst mowing down Madam Sue’s goons with a machine gun.

There’s an excellent cast in this movie. The pick of the bunch has to be Yukari Oshima who is on top form as a cruel sadistic villainess who enjoys torturing her prisoners. She comes across as an icy cold and a not-to-be-messed person, even punishing her own workers if they’ve failed her. We don’t usually see her sexy side but here we see her in a swimming costume and even being sexually aggressive. Fans of Moon Lee will love her kick ass role in this movie. Whilst she had been in several movies previously as a minor character, this would the one that would make people sit up and hail her as one of HK’s newest female action star. She’s her usual cute self in this movie and shows her fantastic nimble and acrobatic fighting skills. It was nice to also see Hwang Jang Lee in this movie who is best known in the West from being in Jackie Chan’s movies Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow and Drunken Master. I have to mention that the rest of the cast are no slouches in their roles either.

Whilst this movie isn’t one of the best in the genre thanks to it being bogged down at times by the script, it does have plenty of intense violence to satisfy the action junkie. It’s certainly worth checking out.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Bullet is a delinquent teenage girl who is being released from jail. She has a fractious relationship with her police inspector father since he put his wife and Bullet’s mother in jail for a crime where she committed suicide. Since that time, Bullet went off the rails and joined a triad gang. As she comes out of jail, her father tries to patch up his relationship with his daughter but is ignored. Bullet joins up with her best friend Chitty and her delinquent gang. Bullet, Chitty and her friends unwittingly get involved in the activities of a dangerous gangster Mad and his cohorts when Chitty’s friend May is lured by an offer of a movie role, is drugged before being raped, videotaped and forced into prostitution by the sleazy Mr Chin. This enrages the gang who burst into Mr Chin’s office and demand the tape be given to them. Bullet’s impulsiveness for stealing some jewellery leads the whole group into trouble with May and her friend being kidnapped for ransom by Mad. Even Chitty’s aged uncle gets in on the action. However the rescue mission for the 2 kidnapped people results in Chitty’s uncle, May and her friend being killed. Chitty is upset and distraught that Bullet has caused all this trouble thanks to what she’s done. Bullet refuses to admit responsibility for her actions. Determined to make things right, Bullet takes matters into her own hands and armed with 2 molotov cocktails and a short sword tries to take on Mad and his gang all by herself. Despite her initial success, Bullet is killed along with her father who turns up just after his daughter has been shot. The female partner of Bullet’s father in the police force and Chitty now both want revenge on Mad and everything is set up for an explosive finale……

What an incredible Girls With Guns movie this was. We’re straight into the action immediately at the start as Sibelle Hu’s acrobatic police character Madame Wu goes in all guns blazing to a building as some jewel thieves hold a couple of hostages and that’s just the beginning of a series of sensational set-pieces that you will see in this movie. The fight choreography, shootouts, brilliant stunts and the tragic storyline that unfolds all adds up to make an entertaining movie that will blow you away. With an all star female cast of Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima and Sibelle Hu how can this movie not go wrong! This is Yukari Oshima’s movie though and the story is mostly focused on her character Bullet. Her character is mean and moody. It doesn’t help that she can’t control her rage and this brings down the rest of her friends with her. Right from the beginning where she gives the middle finger to a female police officer as she’s released from jail you just know that Bullet is a pack of trouble and with a pair of pants that she wears with the word “slut” written all over them it doesn’t take a genius to realise that Bullet doesn’t like authority very much! I did like the slow motion sequence as Bullet slashes her way through Mad’s gang in the middle of a street armed only with a short sword with blood covering her face only to be gunned down by Mad himself – it’s almost like she is sacrificing herself for the mistake she has made. This leads to a fantastic climax at Mad’s beach hideout with Moon Lee involved in an excellent hand to hand combat fight with 2 female opponents while Sibelle Hu blasts her way through the bad guys with a pump action shotgun. All 3 women give it their all in this movie with Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima given the chance to show how good their acting really is as well as their kick ass fighting skills. I’m not taking anything away either from Sibelle Hu who gives one of her best performances ever as a no nonsense police officer.

If you are a HK fan who’s never seen this movie then you owe it to yourself to see it. Violent, fast-paced and a high bodycount make this one of the greatest Girls With Guns movie I have ever seen. Miss it, miss out!!

No trailer but here’s Yukari Oshima character’s death scene in the movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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Two orphan girls are trained from a young age along with a boy by their foster father Fok on how to be assassins once they grow up. Fok and his ‘children’ live completely above the law doing contract hits in which both ‘sisters’ carry out with ruthless efficiency. During a mission ordered by Fok in which an ambush has been arranged, a van full of children are unfortunately killed. This traumatic incident plays on the mind of one of the sisters ‘Silver Fox’ when she begins to have nightmares about it. They are ordered to go to Bangkok, Thailand to retrieve a floppy disk which has some important information that could implicate Fok. They complete the mission but they barely escape from the Thai military. In the ensuing escape, both sisters are split up. Silver Fox is injured and bangs her head hard against a tree before losing unconsciousness after falling into a river. Meanwhile a Chinese brother and sister (Rocky and Lan) are running bar called The Cabin Pub. Lan is a former HK policewoman. Her brother Rocky is desperate to become a Thai boxer and in a bout proves how talented he is but this bring him to the attention of a gangster Mr Chin who is putting a lot of money on Rocky to win his fights. A traffic accident makes it impossible for Rocky to compete in a fight which pisses off Mr Chin and Lan tries to get him to back off from using Rocky in his gambling racket. However Mr Chin doesn’t give up easily and applies some pressure on the siblings. Into this situation comes an amnesiac Silver Fox who drops on the floor of The Cabin Pub. The siblings help her out and Rocky starts to like her. Once she’s recovered they begin to ask her questions but she has no idea who she is so they assume she’s a refugee, give her a new name ‘Gold’ and give her a job at the pub. Silver Fox’s sister is still searching for her across Bangkok and her brother comes over to help with the news that their ‘father’ isn’t happy. Mr Chin attacks the Cabin Pub with machine guns where Silver Fox once again bangs her head which makes her memory return. She takes out all of Mr Chin’s men. The other sister finally reunites with Silver Fox who does not want to go back to HK. She has been ordered to kill Silver Fox if she refuses. Her sentiment towards her sister gets her killed by her brother Scorpion. Rocky is killed as well in trying to save Silver Fox. Fok comes to Thailand to retrieve the disk for himself. The stage is set for a showdown between Ko, Scorpion and their forces against Silver Fox and Lam who want revenge for losing somebody close to them.

One of the best Moon Lee/Yukari Oshima actioners with some fine acting by not only the pair but by actress Sibelle Hu as well. The story is very well done with some interesting plot elements that combine to create a great mix. For a HK actioner, a good deal of character development which is well paced is shown. Usually in these kind of stories, the plot would just be strung together as an excuse to highlight the action set-pieces, however it’s different in this movie. The plot is equally as important as the action. If you want top notch shootouts and martial arts fights then this movie gives it to you in droves along with some great kickboxing matches. Many have complained that the matches are simply used as filler material to expand the running time. That may be the case but I enjoyed watching Rocky’s matches against his superior opponents even when the odds are heavily stacked against him.

Moon Lee gives a rather sensitive performance for a change as the flawed and guilt ridden assassin Silver Fox. She takes an extreme amount of punishment in this movie even getting shot in the leg twice and also in the arm. How she’s still standing in the end I do not know!! Yukari Oshima also delivers in what was a memorable role for her. She has a knack of showing how good an actress she is by not just speaking dialogue but from the expressions on her face which is impressive to see. Both women look gorgeous together and make a great combination. It’s easy to see why they were placed together in so many movies during the early 90’s. On saying that it’s probably Sibelle Hu’s wisecracking chainsmoking bar owner Lan that was the best character in the entire movie. In what’s quite a serious movie, her character provided just a small amount of humour to give us something to smile about. Ben Lam is also very good as the naive Rocky. I liked Hsu Hsia as Scorpion (the girls’ brother) who kills without a trace of emotion and stands out in his white outfit looking ever so cool!

Dreaming The Reality is a solid HK actioner with excellent acting by all the cast and is directed competently by Simon Yun-Ching. If you haven’t seen this yet, try and seek it out. It’s well worth watching and you will not be disappointed.

No trailer but here’s a clip from the movie to enjoy.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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A former gang member returns from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to present to the Justice Department, in exchange for immunity, a list of members of the Shadow triad gang operating in Hong Kong. The gang member (unfortunately named Jackie Chan!) is placed under the protection of the Blue Angels, an all-female special operations unit of the HKPD. The Angels’ mission is to identify the head of the Southeast Asian Shadows. Chan and his list are to be used as bait to apprehend the Shadow triad gang leaders Don Chu and Chico. The leading Blue Angel, Yau Li  goes undercover by working as a singer-dancer at Don Chu’s night club. Her performance leads Chu’s bodyguard Michael to become infatuated with her but this does not go down well with his girlfriend who is seething with rage. A new member to the Blue Angels team goes ballistic when she finds that Jackie is working with them as he had a part in the murder of her little boy 3 years ago when he and his mother found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Michael’s girlfriend is convinced that Yau Li is a policewoman and sets out to kill her but she’s saved by Michael. When Don Chu finds out that Jackie has no list he orders Chico to kill him. Chico himself is also killed before he can tell everything to the Blue Angels by Michael. The stage is set for the ultimate confrontation as the 3 policewoman head to the Shadow HQ to arrest Don Chu.

Killer Angels has been touted around as being one of the best Girls With Guns movies ever so who am I to contest that claim as it is a brilliant action packed and thrilling ride. It’s got an incredible cast led by Moon Lee and Gordon Liu plus the superb Nadeki Fujimi as a mean, cold, ruthless, unforgiving and efficient shotgun shooting killer. The plot is nothing special and it doesn’t give you anything new and unexpected (just the usual betrayals and double crosses) but did I care about that? Not really, I watched this movie for the action and it delivers big style with many frenetic and hyper kinetic set pieces which I loved from dramatic shootouts to full on martial arts scraps. Moon Lee’s fight with Nadeki Fujimi at the Star Ferry terminal is one of the highlights after Lee has been pursued by Fujimi on a motorbike but the climatic 3 pronged assault on the triad HQ by the Blue Angels team who are loaded up with machineguns is awesome and very exciting to watch. Just a shame it’s so damn short, I wanted the ass kicking to go on for longer.

Moon Lee displays both her cute and sexy side in her role as Yau Li. She looks stunning in her nightclub singing scene all dressed in black leather and you can see why Gordon Liu’s character becomes drawn to her. Hell, I would too!! Surprisingly she’s got quite a good singing voice as well (if that was her voice singing that is?). Lui doesn’t get to display any of his martial arts skills, he just shoots people instead. I thought he would have been given a chance to have a fight with one of the Blue Angels team. He gave as good a performance as any of the cast. Even though Moon Lee’s character is the main focus of the movie, it’s probably Nadeki Fujimi that stands out from everybody. She is excellent in what is a bit part role.  She looks so cool in her motorcycle outfit and dark glasses. Her whole menacing demeanour is so bad-ass. The way she angrily tells Michael that she will cut Yau Li’s tits off gives you the impression that this lady isn’t somebody you want to cross!

Killer Angels is a worthy movie that deserves to be watched by HK action junkies. The fast pace means you’re never far from a set-piece which just gets better as the movie goes on. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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The story begins with a flashback scene as 2 practising geomancer brothers are searching for the holy grail area of Feng Shui in an unnamed country with the hope of locating the ideal burial place when they die. They find the perfect idyllic place based on their theories. The location where they hope to be buried will determine the fortune that will be bestowed on the future generation of their respective families – be it power, wealth or wisdom.  When one brother doesn’t like what the other is saying about where he wants to be buried as he wants his family to be powerful in the future, he makes a run for it with his brother’s mercenary forces in hot pursuit. He barely manages to escape by jumping into a local peasant’s boat but unfortunately the peasant himself is fatally wounded. His final wish is to be buried in the area where his children will acquire some wealth and as gratitude for saving his life the brother carries out his wishes. The brother himself wants to get buried where his son will be granted great intellect. Fast forward 20 years in the future where a young woman Anna who runs a computing company in LA is having dire financial problems and also has to deal with a computer hacker named Wisely.  He is also having his own problems having discovered that he has a brain tumour. It won’t kill him but will make him insane.  Both have a feeling that their misfortune is linked to the burial site of their ancestors and along with an astrologer friend who’s an expert in geomancy and feng shui travel to the country to locate their burial sites. It seems that because an evil person has also been buried in that area the tomb must be destroyed for the bad luck to disappear. However there are complications for the trio when they arrive in the country as the President’s top military general stages a coup and kills the leader. He has plans for world domination using the powers of geomancy, astrology and feng shui. The general’s sister isn’t too happy about this and assists Anna, Wisely and the astrologer with their quest but when the general finds out he goes crazy. Can the trio complete what they originally set out to do and also stop the mad general’s plan with their lives intact?

This is an action packed adventure (a bit like an Indiana Jones style movie) which also contains a mystical element to the story too. It’s to do with feng shui and geomancy which is divination by means of lines and figures or by geographic features. As the movie assumes that the viewer knows something about geomancy in general, this could be why many Western viewers are a little bit confused about the story. No expense was spared with the budget on this production with the movie shot in Los Angeles and in Indochina. The biggest draw in Bury Me High is the superb well staged action scenes with some tanks and heavy weaponry being used. A lot of explosives go off, more than what is usually seen in HK movies. The martial arts is fantastic  – fast, brutal and exciting which is topped off by an amazing three way fight between Moon Lee, Yuen Wah and Chin Kar Lok. The final 20 minutes showcases some of the best intense action scenes in HK cinema you’ll ever see. I also have to mention the beautiful cinematography by Peter Pau. The location they use for the majority of the movie is just gorgeous with a stunning mountain range used as a backdrop. For some reason this movie didn’t do so well at HK cinemas at the time of it’s release. You’d think with the great cast involved it would have done OK but apparently it didn’t. Perhaps the mix of various genres didn’t appeal to audiences?

The cast is uniformly great and play interesting characters from Moon Lee who looks beautiful in her designer outfits (even appearing in a bikini) as the young female tycoon Anna and has some cool fight scenes to Yuen Wah who nearly steals the movie as the mad and nasty villain General Nguen. Sibelle Hu, Chin Kar Lok and even Tsui Siu-Ming (the movie’s director) who play the rest of the 5 leading roles in this movie also contribute hugely to the slick fast paced story.

Despite a bit of a slow start, once Bury Me High gets going you won’t find a better action movie. It’s possible that you may get confused with the storyline. All I can say is just pay close attention to the first 10-15 minutes, take it all in and perhaps then you might understand what’s going on. I loved this movie and I hope you will too.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Two inexperienced female cops Grace and Ellen go undercover at a hostess club to catch a killer when a girl is found dead inside a dumpster. One of them accidentally learns that the club owner Chan is a member of a gang whose intention is to go to the very top by killing his superiors. To do this, he hires a deadly Japanese female hitman who’s very handy with a blow gun! After gaining the position he wants, he screws over the Yakuza by stealing their cache of arms. During a car chase and subsequent fight in which Ellen and Grace are chasing the hitwoman on a motorbike, Ellen loses her gun. When the Police Inspector learns about this, he suspends Ellen from duty and Grace is demoted. This leads to a rift between the two girls. Grace continues to investigate Chan and is unfortunately fatally injured by him. Ellen vows revenge but can she take down Chan and his gang alone? Is the mysterious Japanese hitwoman all that she seems?

Beauty Investigator is a very good entry in the ‘Girls With Guns’ genre with a great mix of action and humour. The action isn’t exactly top notch but it’s choreographed well enough. Moon Lee uses a nifty wrist missile launcher during the final showdown, first time for me to see anything like that being used. The only problem I had with this movie is the tone shifts from being comedic to serious after Grace is killed. As for the acting – Moon Lee and Kim Je Kee are funny together as Ellen and Grace. They constantly argue and bicker as best friends do. It’s silly stuff which I found amusing. Yukari Oshima as always is excellent as the Japanese black trenchcoated hitwoman but there’s a twist with her character near the climax. There’s one gratitious nude shower scene featuring Chan’s foreign girlfriend played by Sophia Crawford which was unnecessary in my opinion. Despite some plot weakness and the fact that the movie is low budget, this is still a thrilling and entertaining action movie which will please Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima fans especially the final fight that the two of them have with different opponents.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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