ANGEL MISSION (1990) short review

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Godfrey Ho’s Angel Mission is neither a hideous patchwork of old and new footage like so many of his films, nor one of his very rare moments of true filmic inspiration, like Princess Madam. It’s right in between: bland yet basically competent. Yukari Oshima plays a Japanese Interpol agent tasked with finding Japanese citizens who are trapped in a prostitution ring headed by Chen Kuan Tai and his cool perm. She’s assisted by a Hong Kong policewoman (Ha Chi Chun) and crosses paths with a man (Dick Wei) whose sister is a victim of the same ring. It’s a spectacularly limp plot that manages to induce sleep even as it drops massive, fateful coincidences at every reel (Yukari’s mother works for the same evil mob boss on whose trail she is! Said mob boss is a former blood brother of Dick Wei!). Action is plentiful yet forgettable – generally competent of course, but Yukari’s fights are full of beautiful yet entirely gratuitous gymnastics flourishes that clash with the supposedly realistic tone. **

PRINCESS MADAM (1989) review

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As a director, erstwhile Chang Cheh assistant Godfrey Ho is known as a master of schlock, many of his films being facepalm-inducing patchworks of stock footage, recycled scenes from older films, gratuitous sex scenes and quite often, random ninja appearances. He’s like the dark flip-side of that other Chang Cheh assistant, John Woo. Yet, a film like Princess Madam is proof that Ho was more than capable of delivering a solid, coherent and at times even affecting actioner. Moon Lee and Sharon Yeung star as police officers Mona and Lisa (aheheh), assigned to the protection of a key witness in bringing mob boss Lung (Yueh Hua) to justice for murdering a cop. During a failed ambush on the witness and her police escort, Mona kills the lover of assassin Lily (Michiko Nishiwaki), who later retaliates by seducing, then kidnapping her husband. But matters are complicated further by the fact that Lisa’s adoptive father (Kenneth Tsang) was complicit in Lung’s crime, which poses an agonizing dilemma to her.

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