Satin Steel

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This fast, furious, largely daft movie was Jade’s immediate follow up to the two Black Cat films. If they were based on Nikita, the inspiration here is clearly Lethal Weapon, with Leung as a headstrong cop (also named Jade Leung!) who believes in shooting first and asking questions…oh, somewhere between eventually and never. With her sensible partner (Lee), she chases evil weapons broker Mr. Fowler and his gang from Singapore to Indonesia. It eventually ends above a volcano, with Jade clinging desperately to a helicopter.

The elements here are hugely variable: Leung and Lee have great chemistry, but Lee’s boyfriend Paul (Chan) may be the most irritating bastard in cinema history – his every appearance provoked a strong desire to throw things at the TV, and we cheered loudly when he was gunned down, particularly since it shut him up for a bit. In contrast Russell Wong is more sympathetic as Fowler’s naive lawyer, though since we know what happened to Jade’s first husband, this relationship might as well be wearing a sweatshirt marked ‘Doomed’. One also wonders why an international arms dealer would employ a troupe of native dancers as henchmen.

While the plot and characterisation leaves a little to be desired in originality and execution, the action is plentiful and energetic. Of particular note is the previously-mentioned helicopter sequence – at first, we suspected heavy stunt doubling, but later on, there are a couple of shots which give pause for thought, and Jade deserves greater credit. It’s just a shame it ends so abruptly. Jade’s battle against the dancers is also pretty cool, and Lee has a good fight at a train station, culminating with a leap in front of an oncoming engine that merited an immediate rewind and rewatch.

There is, however, something obviously cheap and apparently rushed about the whole endeavour, and it feels like one of the later entries in Cynthia Khan’s filmography – particularly, Angel on Fire, which also had two policewomen from different lands, travelling to a third (and presumably, cheaper to film in!) country to find the villains. One suspects Jade was under pressure to make another movie while her star was still rising, regardless of the end product’s quality.

Dir: Tony Leung Siu-Hung
Stars: Jade Leung, Anita Lee, Russell Wong, Kenneth Chan

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