The Avenging Quartet

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“Enormous potential, largely wasted thanks to dreadful script.”

Add supporting roles for Michiko Nishiwaki and Yukari Oshima to Khan and Lee, and you should have a winner, all four being in perhaps the top half-dozen or so action heroines from Hong Kong. Yet while the fights here are grand, the film wastes far too much effort elsewhere. Khan is a Chinese cop who comes to Hong Kong and bumps into gangstress Lee while looking for former lover Waise Lee, who is a) also Lee’s love, and b) now involved with a painting that hides documentation on Japanese wartime human experiments, which Nishiwaki is trying to sell to Oshima. Like I said, far too much effort (if you want to know about those experiments, track down the grim but jaw-dropping Men Behind the Sun).

The opening act is particularly dire, consisting largely of Cynthia Khan wandering round looking pouty, while “If he only loved meeeee…” music plays, followed by female bonding with Moon – Chris started complaining of cramps around this time. We can hardly blame the actresses, who do what they can; a decent writer would have dealt with this in five minutes, and could then have spent time on Oshima, who has absolutely no character development. The good thing is, you soon learn that when she appears, a fight will shortly follow.

Things do perk up later on; after all the oestrogen, Chin Kar Lok is welcome light relief as an amusing dumb cop, and the finale is excellent, with echoes of Thelma and Louise. However, it’s too little, too late. It’s worth pointing out that while the title and artwork imply some kind of team-up, as in The Heroic Trio, the reality is unfortunately totally different, and nowhere near as interesting.

Dir: Stanley Siu Wing
Stars: Cynthia Khan, Moon Lee, Waise Lee, Chin Kar Lok
a.k.a. Tomb Raiders

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