HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Beauty Investigator Pretty deadlyBuy this film here.
Year: 1993
Director: Lee Tso Nam
Stars: Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima, Gam Chi-Gei, Chui Jing-Yat, Sophia Crawford, Melvin Wong, Billy Ching Sau-Yat, Peter Yang Kwan, Billy Chow, Shum Wai, Shum Wai, Chung Faat, Tai Bo, Jackson Ng Yuk-Sue
Genre: Comedy, Sex, Action, Thriller, Martial Arts
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Back in the glory days of Hong Kong cinema, the “girls with guns” subgenre crowned an array of kung fu queens who amassed a fervent fanbase in the west. Among the most popular and prolific were Moon Lee and Japanese starlet Yukari Oshima. Both beautiful, both amazing martial artists, both willing to risk life and limb performing outrageous stunts. Moon began her career in cult classics Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983) and Mr. Vampire (1985) while Yukari shot to stardom with the tokusatsu favourite Space Sheriff Gavan (1984). But it was the teaming of both these deadly divas in Angel (1987) that really got pulses racing and producers repeatedly paired them together throughout a string of action vehicles.

Which brings us to Beauty Investigator, wherein bumbling policewomen Feng (Moon Lee) and Grace (Gam Chi-Gei) discover a dead woman in a dumpster, the latest victim of a serial killer who has been raping and killing nightclub girls across Hong Kong. Sexist Chief Inspector Wong (Melvin Wong) assigns the less-than-dynamic duo, who dress like Nineties rap starlets Salt and Pepa, to go undercover as “club hostesses”, hoping to lure out the psycho, although the girls spend more time fending off middle-aged gropers at Club Volvo. There they discover club boss Bill (Chui Jing-Yat) is a gangster. Along with his English girlfriend-cum-bodyguard Lisa (Sophia Crawford), Bill is trying to instigate a war between his triad bosses and the Japanese yakuza, so he can emerge as top dog. To that end he hires one-woman army Yamamoto (Yukari Oshima), who lays waste to the competition using her favourite killing method: a blowdart to the head.

Hong Kong action movies typically try to be all things to all people, so it is no surprise the tone veers all over the place. In fact the film downplays the whole psycho-killer angle for the most part while it leap-frogs from Miss Congeniality style chick flick comedy to serious crime thriller about the power struggles in the underworld and the kind of madcap kung fu caper for which Moon and Yukari were justly famed. Perhaps it is just as well the crazed killer is absent for for so long, because when finally does appear, bare-chested save for a leopard print tie, tiger skin shorts and matching headband, he proves impossible to take seriously. Surprisingly, it is assassin Yamamoto who intercepts the murderer, precipitating a plot twist that while amusing, proves ludicrous in hindsight. At least scrappy Feng has awesome kung fu skills, but Grace is so whiny and inept even her best friend can’t work out how she passed the police entrance exam. She actually vomits in disgust at the first dumpster corpse, after which the C.S.I. unit mistakenly analyse her phlegm as evidence. At one point the squabbling girls recreate an episode of I Love Lucy as they divide their apartment and all their possessions with red tape, preventing each from crossing over to the other side.

Lee Tso Nam was an old hand at this sort of schizophrenic nonsense, having helmed the ninja girl/Second World War/sexploitation/fantasy Challenge of the Lady Ninja (1984) and the crazed children’s film Kung Fu Wonderchild (1986) which also starred Yukari Oshima. So while the plot grinds laboriously and the comedy is sub-sitcom level, the action remains outstanding, choreographed by Jackson Ng Yuk-Sue who also co-stars as a disposable villain. Moon and Yukari were solid pros and their fight scenes crackle with crazed intensity, as does a brisk car chase wherein a shotgun wielding Feng pursues a bike-riding Yamamoto. The film’s Category III rating in Hong Kong (which signifies adult content and became a badge of honour for any exploitation movie trading in sleaze and gore) had some fans hoping for some racy scenes with Moon and Yukari, but neither was likely to sully their image. In fact it is British stuntwoman and martial artist Sophia Crawford who disrobes for a silly shower scene. Crawford carved a solid niche for herself in Hong Kong exploitation, notably with her infamous naked kung fu fight in Escape from Brothel (1992). She later went stateside as a stunt double for Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

After an unexpected death, Beauty Investigator turns deadly serious as Moon and Yukari team up for revenge and try to, you guessed it, kill Bill. The frenzied finale is incredibly entertaining, particularly Moon wielding a very cool (if out of leftfield) missile-shooting sci-fi glove. Dumb, but fun.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2696 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: