ANGEL TERMINATORS II (1993) review

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Tony Liu’s Angel Terminators II came out a year after Wai Lit’s Angel Terminators but the only thing the two films have in common is a producer, Georges Lai’s Grandwell Film Production. Other than that, the cast, crew, creative team, characters and general tone are entirely different. The Hong Kong film industry had always had a loose definition of sequelizing, but this is one of the more puzzling title choices. Bullet (Yukari Oshima) just came out of prison after taking the fall for her scummy triad boss (Karel Wong). She is welcomed by her childhood friend Chitty (Moon Lee) and their group of friends, as well as by her estranged cop father (Jason Pai Piao) and his loyal but hot-headed partner (Sibelle Hu, hideously decked in a piss-yellow tracksuit). Bullet aims to get a fresh start in life but things quickly go back to hell when she beats up her former boss who threatened to make Chitty his prostitute, and when one of her friends is drugged and abused by a fake casting agent.

Though tragedy is quick in taking hold of the plot past the halfway point, Angel Terminators II is for much of its runtime a lighter film than its predecessor. The central group of friends allows for regular comedic interludes and goofy character traits, and indeed for a while you’d be forgiven to wonder what the film is actually up to, as it wanders around from one moderately interesting subplot to another. Short fight scenes crop up from time to time and it’s a pleasure to see Yukari Oshima and Moon Lee interact, so boredom is kept at bay. Melodrama wells up slowly as the dysfunctional family of sorts formed by Jason Pai Piao, Sibelle Hu, Oshima and Lee tears itself apart, with good acting from everyone involved, especially Oshima, who always excelled at playing high-kicking tormented souls. Then, similar to so many films of that genre, the fan is hit at high speed by a smattering of shit, and from then on the pace doesn’t let go, with a steady stream of excellent fights – from a mall brawl where the balance of power constantly shifts, to a finale involving a shotgun-wielding Sibelle Hu, and Moon Lee fending off two fierce opponents (including Sophia Crawford). The choreography (by Yuen Bo) and Lee’s incredible skill are such that you almost forget she is fighting people and just revel in the immaculate grace of her delivery.

Long Story Short : Less memorable and focused but more efficient than its predecessor, Angel Terminators II is a fine specimen of the ‘Girls with Guns’ genre. ***1/2

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