Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Lady Professional, The lethal Lily
Year: 1971
Director: Matsuo Akinori
Stars: Lily Ho Li, Chang Pei-shan, Ching Miao, Huang Tsung-hsun, Chan Shen, Lee Sau Kei, Bolo Yeung Tze, Gai Yuen, Yasuyoshi Shikamura, Cheung Ging Boh, Joe Cheung Tung Cho, Fei Lian, Gam Gwan, Gwok Wai, Hung Ling Ling, Lee Ho, Pak Liu, Tsang Choh Lam, Yee Kwan
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In a dizzying opening, shot with hand-held cameras, a mysterious lady assassin (Lily Ho Li) kills a man on a rollercoaster using her lethal compact makeup box. As she flees the scene, a miniskirted cutie identifies her as local florist, Ge Tianli. Sleazy Xiao Jiang (Chang Pei-shan) sees her as his meal ticket. Two years later, Tianli is running a café and caring for her sick mother when Xiao blackmails her into carrying out another hit. Business tycoons, Mr. Fei (Ching Miao) and An Bingxin (Huang Tsung-hsun) want to silence a jailbird who knows too much about their criminal past. Tianli does the job, but her employers try to kill with a sabotaged car. She survives and goes gunning for revenge.

This Shaw Bros. thriller was one of two movies directed by Matsuo Akinori, under the alias Mai Chi Ho, although some sources credit Kuei Chi-hung (Bamboo House of Dolls (1973)) as co-director. The studio hired several Japanese filmmakers to bring their distinctive touch to a number of thrillers, musicals and dramas throughout the sixties and early seventies, with most adopting Chinese pseudonyms to stave off resentment over World War Two. Japanese and Hong Kong crime thrillers were polls apart at the time. The Lady Professional tries to meld the stylized, comic book action of the former with the gritty, social conscience of the latter, but doesn’t entirely succeed.

An elaborate set-up suggests the plot is more complicated than it turns out to be. Like Don Siegel’s The Killers (1964), a hired killer turns detective to investigate the reasons behind the murder she committed. Flashbacks reveal Tianli’s father was killed and her home set ablaze by the man who became her first victim, while a twist reveals one gangster is dating her best friend, but the script makes little of these details. What emerges is an efficient thriller, but skin deep. Lily Ho Li shows her subtlety as she flits from wide-eyed family girl to moody, no-nonsense assassin, often within a single scene. Yet this film trades mostly on her iconic status as Hong Kong’s premier femme fatale of the era. Her lethal compact is a nifty gadget that fires needle-thin bullets and she looks very cool in an array of black leather outfits.

The action highlight is Lily’s battle with a couple of brick-smashing, girder-bending bodybuilders and an acrobat who dresses like Jason King (ask your parents). It’s bloody and brutal, with Lily making gory use of some construction machinery. A Japanese thriller would have had the heroine escape to fight another day. Here we have a moralistic coda that suggests Tianli will hand herself over to the cops. In Hong Kong cinema even a vengeful Bruce Lee wound up carted away by the police in The Big Boss (1971) and Game of Death (1978). Oh, and the finale features Lily dressed as a nun. Not my bag exactly, but whatever works for you…
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 3802 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

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

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: