“At the risk of repeating myself, poster not necessarily representative of movie contents.”
Inspired though the alternate titling of The Bod Squad might be, the original title likely gives a better idea of the inspiration for this 1977 Shaw Brothers flick: think Charlie’s rather than deadly. Three women, from Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, under the orders of Bosley Scotland Yard’s Miss Eve (Kraft, known to cult fans from Mighty Peking Man), go undercover in a night-club. Girls from there have been recruited to smuggle out of Hong Kong the proceeds from a series of brutal jewel robberies – the previous couriers all turn up stabbed to death after delivering the goods. However, the agents turn out to be a bit crap at the whole undercover thing, and the bad guys are none too happy to discover undercover operatives in their midst.
The main problem is, this takes way to long to get to the action. Outside of a pretty decent training sequence, there’s very little to speak of for the first hour. The film tries to make up in sex, what it doesn’t deliver in violence, with plenty of nudity and coercive sex, but the only point of note is an impressive death by fire extinguisher, inflicted on a witness by the chief villain’s main squeeze (Shaw Yin Yin, one of the decade’s leading erotic actresses in Hong Kong).
Things do perk up in the final reel, with a series of pretty decent battles, in which the girls take on a host of minions, with a little help from Li (Liu), whose father was the one who got “extinguished” (and who, like most Hong Kong martial artists of the time, appears to be trying to channel the very busy spirit of the late Bruce Lee). The agents also have some neat gadgets, such as a belt-buckle that become a spiked yo-yo kind of weapon, a folding cross-bow and a hair scrunchie which forms part of an explosive slingshot. More of these being put to use, and less of victims being slapped around, would have upped the entertainment quotient. You can see the influence this would have on 80’s entries in the genre, but at this point, we’re still talking “barely crawled out of the sea” in evolutionary terms.
Dir: Hun Choi, Hsueh Li Pao
Star: Nancy Yen, Dana, Liu Yang, Evelyn Kraft