SPECIAL FEMALE FORCE (2016) review

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Wilson Chin’s Special Female Force is a loose remake of Wellson Chin’s (not the same guy) The Inspector Wears Skirts, following a dozen sexy young women who enter a stringent boot camp where they bond in the hardships of training and flirt with the male team, before being thrust into their first mission, to stop a terrorist – who twenty years ago decimated the previous iteration of the Special Female Force – from spreading a deadly virus. Tiny subplots from the original films (there were four of them) also crop up, like the male instructor’s crush on the female one (Ken Lo and Jade Leung step in for Stanley Fung and Sibelle Hu), but on the whole Wilson is largely rebooting Wellson’s concept, while adding an unfortunate layer of teary drama on top of it. The Inspector Wears Skirts were no masterpieces, but they knew their place and remained jokey displays of eye-candy with some hard-hitting action thrown in. Special Female Force is plagued by tragic subplots that lead to cringe-worthy moments of tone-deaf emotional acting from the main cast. Philip Ng has a few scenes and a few spin kicks as an ungrateful boyfriend, in another soap-worthy little nugget of plot.

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LINE WALKER (2016) review

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The spin-off from a highly-successful TVB series of the same title, with only Charmaine Sheh and Hui Shiu Hung’s characters carried over from small to big screen, Jazz Boon’s Line Walker is a riotously enjoyable actioner that merges Infernal Affairs‘ undercover twists, some over-top action scenes from Benny Chan’s playbook, and goofy comedy out of Wong Jing’s less tasteless offerings (Wong is a producer here). The fictional CIB department of police is trying to dismantle a powerful crime organization, but all of its undercovers have been killed after their identities were leaked. Inspector Q (Francis Ng) and his colleague and girlfriend agent Ding (Charmaine Sheh) are contacted by a missing undercover agent known as Blackjack, who may or may not be Shiu (Louis Koo), the right hand man of a fast-rising figure of the crime organization, Blue (Nick Cheung), whose life he once saved.

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FOX HUNTER (1995) review

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Don’t be fooled by the official poster for Fox Hunter : Jade Leung and Jordan Chan sitting on a bench, she in a sexy dress, playfully brandishing a gun, and he with tape on his mouth and a pair of pineapples at his feet. You might be lead to believe this is a fun caper or some kind of buddy comedy, but it is something quite different, and it certainly doesn’t contain any scene of pineapples being laid at Jordan Chan’s feet. One of the few directing efforts of prominent (though somewhat underrated) action director and martial arts choreographer Tung Wei, it is actually a straightforward chase thriller, and a first-rate one at that. It follows a modest beat cop (Jade Leung), who’s repeatedly failed the test to become a detective, but is given an opportunity for promotion: she must pass herself as a call girl to nail a dangerous drug dealer (Ching Fung), with the help of a spineless pimp (Jordan Chan). The operation is a success, but the drug dealer manages to escape, kills Jade’s uncle in retaliation and rapes her. Now revenge is all that is on her mind, and she decides to pursue him to Mainland China where he has fled. For that she enlists Jordan Chan’s help by force, and once on the Mainland she must manage to find and kill her formidable opponent, all the while stopping her reluctant sidekick from escaping and dodging the local police, headed by Yu Rong-Guang.

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BLACK CAT (1991) review

After being released in 1990, Luc Besson’s Nikita, with its haywire young woman who after acidentally killing a cop gets a second chance as a government assassin, spawned countless knock-offs, but also more than a few straight remakes. In 1993, John Badham directed Point of No Return with Bridget Fonda as the assassin re-named Nina ; the film was actually close to a shot-for-shot remake, which wasn’t the case of the successful TV series La Femme Nikita, which ran for five seasons and considerably glamorized the concept, with the statuesque Peta Wilson in the title role. And in 2010, it was Maggie Q’s turn to have a try at the character, in another successful series that was this time aimed squarely at teenagers. But the least-known of the Nikita remakes is also the earliest one: Stephen Shin’s Black Cat, which was produced by the D&B Film company (of the Tiger Cage and In The Line Of Duty films) in 1991, just one year after Besson’s seminal film.

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