Film Reviews:

Midnight Angel/Wu ye tian shi

aka Justice Women, The/Legend of Heroism, The

(Ki Yee Chik, HK, 1988)

Marvellous Hong Kong femme fatale action comedy that plays like it's based upon a Japanese comic strip. When the police are unable to capture the ruthless criminal Bull, a masked, black-clad female vigilante decides to take the law into her own hands. Joined by two other masked heroines and equipped with a skateboard (!) and assorted weaponry, including a flamethrower, they set out to clean the streets of criminals once and for all.

Midnight Angel is an oriental version of the sort of character which appears in Marvel comics. Action movie regular Yukari Oshima stars alongside the lovely May Law. East/West cultural differences are highlighted in various ways here. The sexist attitudes and ignorant male characters seem transported from a 1970s Carry On movie and there is a hilarious sex farce bedroom sequence that wouldn't be out of place in a Carry On. In amongst the superhero righting wrongs passages, director Chik Ki Yee manages to recreate the Odessa Steps sequence from Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (!), throw in a sex-mad cop called Donut, have a husband kick his pregnant wife and pad it all with some outrageous violence. Unfortunately the print is a little rough, the subtitles are poor and it's a shame it's not widescreen but the film's energy wins you over. This was also my first viewing of the lovely May Law, star of the Happy Ghost trilogy. (Trivia note: after working on this film, actor Mark Cheng married co-star Yukari Oshima.)

Rob Dyer

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