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  Mission of Justice Avenging AngelsBuy this film here.
Year: 1992
Director: Lu Chin Ku
Stars: Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima, Carrie Ng, Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung, Betty Mak Chui-Han, Chan Lau, Ma On, Mark Houghton, Gary Daniels, Sophia Crawford, Anthony Cho
Genre: Action, Thriller, Martial Arts
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Colonel Carrie (Carrie Ng) heads an anti-crime taskforce in pursuit of Miss Yie Feng (Betty Mak Chui-Han), a notorious trafficker in guns, drugs and prostitutes who has struck an alliance with two gangsters from Thailand. Somi (Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung) and his retro-Forties styled, earring-sporting, strangely anglicized monickered partner-in-crime Hans (Chan Lau) are on the rise in the underworld after gatecrashing a secret triad meeting and killing everyone in sight. Colonel Carrie sends top policewomen, Moon (Moon Lee) and Bullet (Yukari Oshima) (both stars especially glam in their admittedly dated designer fashions) into Thailand’s notorious “Golden Triangle” on an undercover mission - both so tough, within minutes of arriving they clobber a purse-snatcher. Posing as high class hookers, the girls flirt their way into a tacky holiday resort where they rent a room next door to the bad guys, hoping to pinpoint Yie Feng’s hideout. Naturally, nothing goes according to plan.

Although Hong Kong cinema already had a long tradition of action heroines, it was the global success of Angel (1987) that kick-started the “girls with guns” subgenre and made stars of kung fu idol Moon Lee and Japanese sensation Yukari Oshima. Thereafter producers reteamed this dynamic duo several dozen times, sometimes as adversaries though occasionally as allies as was the case here. Also thrown into this feisty femme fatale mix was Carrie Ng, fresh off her star-making role as a psychotic lesbian assassin in Naked Killer (1992) and well on her way to a substantial, award-winning career. Despite having less to do than her kung-fu kicking co-stars, Ng makes her mark as the scowling, no-nonsense policewoman who calls the shots.

Mission of Justice paints a woman’s world where the fairer sex are both gutsy heroines and venomous villainesses, equally clever, resourceful and deadly, although its latter half edges into misogyny as the Thai gangsters rape and kill a village full of peasant women (“Women are troublesome”, sighs Somi) and slimy Somi forces himself on the poised Miss Yie. In a tasteless twist, she falls for the creep and abandons plans for a marriage of convenience to an ageing triad boss. The film is something of a patchwork job with characters disappearing and reappearing at random plus a plot that switches focus onto the squabbling gangsters who end up double and triple-crossing each other long before Moon and Yukari don combat gear for a jungle showdown shot in excessive, frame-by-frame slow-motion.

Short and sweet and not in the big leagues of HK girls with guns action movies, this still delivers suspenseful scenes along with all the insane stunts and frenetic gunplay fans could want. Highlights include Moon’s battling a whip-wielding vixen and another half dozen men at once plus a simply amazing sequence where Yukari leaps in and out of hotel rooms, along the balcony and up several floors to escape gun-toting killers. The fight sequences move at a furious pace making full use of both stars’ near-legendary athleticism, though interestingly Yukari plays it more vulnerable this time round, often losing fights to opponents she would normally wipe the floor with. She gets her revenge on the brutal Hans who suffers an appropriate beating for his garish red wardrobe. The last five minutes let loose more hot lead than the collected works of Sam Peckinpah, although the ending is oddly ambiguous as Miss Yie vows Somi will see her again “very soon.” Writer-director Lu Chin Ku, a Shaw Brothers veteran with several classic costume adventures to his credit, reunited with Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima for the superior Angel Terminators II (1993).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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