Angel Force

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“In the jungle, the Lee-on sleeps tonight…”

This is confusing. For the IMDb lists a completely different film by the same title – also made in 1991 and starring Moon Lee. That one stars Simon Yam: this one doesn’t. Meanwhile, Amazon has Yukari Oshima in the cast – I may have blinked and missed her, but more likely she was in the other one. It is also, despite the title, entirely unrelated to the Angel series, though did remind me I’ve not yet got round to reviewing parts two and three of that. If you see it referred to as Mission Kill and Mission of Condor too, I think that’s the “other” Angel Force as well; one site even refers to this movie as Lethal Blood 2, although it bears no relation to the first movie there either. I hope this helps…

Regardless, I wondered early on if this would even qualify, as May (Lee) takes a back seat, playing second banana to her boss, Peter (Lam). He has been tasked with rescuing kidnapped Westerner Harrison, stashed away after his capture, deep in the Burmese jungle by local drug lord, Khun Sa [who appears to have been a real person]. After putting together a team, on virtually the eve of the recovery mission, Peter is gunned down in an attempted hit, and it’s up to May to lead things. There are problems both outside and inside the team. A mole is leaking information on the mission to the people they are after, and the first guy Peter recruits, Benny (Ng), turns out to be a borderline psycho, who gets a bit rapey with a captured enemy. It’s up to May to complete the mission, get out alive, and then figure out who is the informant.

Right from the start here, there’s no shortage of action. Though a bit too much of it consists of two group spraying automatic gunfire at each other, through thick jungle foliage and with all the accuracy of Imperial Stormtroopers. While I am never averse to seeing a guard-tower explode in a good, giant fireball, there is a limit to the appeal of such things, and it is certainly reached here, well before the arrival of what may be the first deus ex helicopter in cinema history. I was also amused by the painfully early nineties approach to both mobile phones the size of bricks,  and high-tech searches represented by a computer screen where the text largely consists of word-processor installation instructions. No wonder the team ended up with Psycho Benny.

Fortunately, the guns here jam or run out of ammo with regularity which could be concerning if I were a weapons manufacturer. As a viewer though, the film is on far more solid ground when dealing with the hand-to-hand action. Lee leads from the front with some fights that showcase her speed and agility to good effect. The most notable of these is a battle against Fujimi Nadeki after the near-assassination of Peter, in which May chases the killer through the streets on a motorcycle, to a half-demolished building. A savage gun-battle follows, notable not least for May’s point-blank execution of one man, ending with her going up against Nadeki. While it forms the high point, more or less any time Lee puts the gun down is a good indication you should start paying greater attention here.

Dir: Shan Hua
Star: Moon Lee, Wilson Lam, Hugo Ng, Fong Lung
a.k.a. Tian shi te jing

The Avenger

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“It’s a cover-up!”

Teetering on the edge of qualifying as false information, this TVM was originally released under the more relevant, yet great deal less salacious (and, let’s be honest, less appealing) title of A Nanny’s Revenge, along with a greatly subdued sleeve. Marketing works, people: for put it this way, I’d never have watched it in that presentation. I can’t feel utterly cheated, even if what I got is closer to a low-rent version of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle than the tempting treat promised by the cover. 

Gina Wright (O’Keefe) has a really bad day – though likely not as bad as her parents. For her father dies in a building-site accident, and her mother in a car crash as she rushes to hospital. The site owner, mogul Parker Randall (Pratt, channeling Alec Baldwin), seeks to cover up the shoddy Chinese materials responsible, and fakes a toxicology report to show that Gina’s dad was drunk. A bit of a white knight – we first meet her quitting her job as a teacher, in support of an unjustly fired colleage – Gina won’t stand for that. So she hatches a plan to expose Parker’s wrongdoing, and to that end, worms her way into a job as nanny to his son, by befriending his wife, Brynn (Pratt). Little does she know, however, that her  employer’s predatory instincts are not limited to the business world, and he’s making plans for a hostile takeover, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

There was a moment towards the end of this, where for one glorious second I thought Gina, Brynn and Parker’s spurned mistress were going to team up in order to take revenge on the man they all have good reason to hate, in a Murder on the Orient Express kinda way. I’m filing that one away in my box of script ideas for potential future use, since the movie here failed to take advantage of it. That’s inexplicable, since what it instead delivers is more or less entirely predictable, and if generally competent and not badly-acted, rarely gets beyond the obvious. For instance, we know Gina is impulsive. Because someone explicitly tells us she is. Oh, and she wears a nose-ring (although does not sport the neon highlights shown on the cover), which in the world of TV movies, is one step above being a crack whore.

There’s an entirely unnecessary subplot involving a colleague of her Dad, who is trying to take Parker to court – he meets the end necessary to the plot, in order to show how ruthless a villain Gina is facing. Indeed, by the end, you’ll likely find yourself with a long laundry-list of ways in which this could have been improved, or come closer to the movie promised by the sleeve. More violence. More nudity – well, make that any nudity. Boost the subtext about big business being bad into a whole class-war thing. Make Parker look slightly more like Donald Trump. Instead, you’ll get this vanilla pudding: filling enough, just not what many people would call tasty.

Dir: Curtis Crawford
Star: Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Michael Woods, Victoria Pratt, Cynthia Preston
a.k.a. A Nanny’s Revenge

All Girls Weekend

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“Why we don’t camp, #173.”

There’s something admirable about a film entirely cast with and directed by women, especially in such a generally male-dominated genre as horror. Unfortunately, all this effort really goes to prove, is that the fairer sex are every bit as capable of turning out uninteresting crap as any man. An ill-conceived cross between The Descent and The Blair Witch Project, this has four old school friends reuniting, along with the workmate of one of them, who tags along because… Well, as with so much in the movie, for no particularly good reason.  There’s friction between the friends, from the moment Nancy (Bernadette) shows up four hours late, forcing their departure to be pushed back.

But it’s when an innocent little pre-dinner hike is suggested that things truly go off the rails. For the workmate falls, and is impaled on… well, let’s be honest, and call it a twig. The party is unable to get out of the woods and find help, finding themselves perpetually going in circles. It’s almost as if the forest itself is trying to keep them from leaving. Turns out that’s exactly the case – not much of a spoiler this – for there was a mill there, which polluted the entire area, and unleashed a curse. Now, in order to regenerate, the earth spirit is now demanding blood sacrifices. So, before you can say, “Hang on – this doesn’t make much sense,” the party are being threatened in different, mostly fairly ludicrous ways. It’s almost like a live-action version of The Gashleycrumb Tinies: “N is for Nancy, pursued by a bear,” albeit where it’s abundantly apparent that Nancy and the bear were never simultaneously in the same zip-code.

Whoever designed the poster likely deserves some kind of award, for making the film look a hundred times more exciting than it is ever capable of delivering. The final 10 minutes can’t make up for the poor pacing and horribly talky nature of what has gone before, Simon appearing to have misheard the cardinal rule of cinema as, “Tell, don’t show.” Hence, we get an awful lot of scenes of exposition and unnecessary back-chat: I mean, do we really care that one of the girls used to be fat at high-school? Does it matter in the slightest? Meanwhile, seems like at least half the deaths take place off-screen, culminating in a staggering moment where it appears someone is found drowned in a pile of leaves. What? No, really: what? About the only positive to come out of this is Bernadette, who gives Nancy more of a character arc than everyone else in the film combined, her character turning a full 360-degrees over its course.

I guess we should at least be grateful that Simon did not make the obvious artistic decision and turn this into yet another “found footage” abomination. It’s one of the few things which would have made this more of a chore to watch.

Dir: Lou Simon
Star: Jamie Bernadette, Katie Carpenter, Gema Calero, Karishma Lakhani

The Ascent

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“Suffers from a mountain sense of disinterest.”

One year ago, the boyfriend of Emily Wilks (Davis) vanished, along with the mountaineering party he was taking on an ascent of the notoriously lethal Devil’s Peak summit. Emily is no mean climber herself, and still works as a trail guide on the mountain. But the group who have booked her services on this day have another motive: finding the legendary stash of gold they believe is hidden on the mountain, which they believe Emily knows the location. Unable to convince them it’s just a myth, she’s forced to lead the gang through the wilderness. Fortunately, it has many, many potential perils which can be used to thin the herd out.

The IMDb contains a (suspicious?) number of reviews touting the merit of the “director’s cut” of this movie, over the officially released version. But with the former apparently unavailable, we can only review the latter – and it’s severely underwhelming stuff. Davis isn’t the problem, however. The makers choose an actress who actually looks like she could be a climber, with well-defined upper body tone and decent muscles, rather than possessing the twig-like limbs, still seen rather too often. Emily exudes a no-nonsense confidence which also fits her character, and is smart enough to know when to use her physical strength, and when not to.

The problem is… Well, more like the problems are, for just about everything else misfires. First of all, the “mountaineering” scenes are almost entirely shot in super close-up, presumably because the participants were dangling no more than three feet off the ground. It is all completely unconvincing and the movie offers absolutely no sense of danger from the terrain, at any point; far from needing a guide, this mountain looks far more like a literal walk in the park. Large chunks of the plot don’t make much sense either, such as the fight with ice axes which takes place in a desert. [This is perhaps because the makers originally intended to shoot in Alaska, then relocated to Texas – apparently, without bothering to revise the script!] The actions of the villains also often appear to fall into the crevasse marked, “Dumbness necessary to the plot”.

I’m reluctant to condemn completely a film which appears to have been the innocent victim of a tussle between the producer and director. But without access to any other version, the audience here are as much casualties as the movie. Who is responsible for the problems with the other elements, doesn’t matter much, in any final analysis from a neutral observer. You can sense where the writer-director wanted to go with this, and as noted above, I genuinely liked the lead. It isn’t enough, with the undercooked script and weak execution draining most of the film’s nascent promise.

Dir: S.J. Creazzo
Star: Josie Davis, William McNamara, Martin Kove, Martin Kove

Angels With Golden Guns

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“Virgin on the ridiculous.”

The beautifully lurid sleeves above and below probably give you some idea of why this one fell across my TV. They probably also explain the sarcasm dripping from Chris’s lips, during the three minutes she remained in the room. I can’t really argue with her on this one: it’s an entirely incoherent mess, though I have to say, I was entertained somewhat more than the one and a half star rating above would imply. The latter is a reflection of quality, and that I could only recommend this, even in the loosest of terms, to fans of bad movies who are feeling significantly masochistic.

The plot, and I used the term loosely, focuses on a white slavery ring, that seems to specialize in the bulk abduction of models who, in between being rented out to sleazy individuals. are then held in a remote jungle compound, from which there is no escape. We know there is no escape, because they try – quite why the captives don’t wait until the rather more escape-friendly location of their renting-out, is never clear. But, hey, this gives the warden who oversees them the chance to yell a lot, and there is also the opportunity for what may well be the biggest cat-fight in cinema history, so that’s nice. Meanwhile, a detective is also investigating the gang from the other direction – when not pretending to be gay, in a disco sequence which is either extremely tolerant or very homophobic, I’m not sure which.

According to what I’ve read, producer Joseph Lai inherited a film studio which had a lot of abandoned movies in various states of completion, and made his career out of finishing them – usually with little regard for continuity or logic – and marketing the results by focusing heavily on the sizzle. I can’t vouch for the veracity of this, yet it certainly goes a long way towards explaining the results here, which includes a strip version of Play Your Cards Right (Wikipedia advises me that US visitors should read that as Card Sharks). Matters are not helped by English dubbing that seems to have assigned accents at random, and music stolen from other, much better movies – I’m fairly certain Goblin didn’t give Lai permission to use chunks of their score from Suspiria, anyway.

Not that it’s an inappropriate choice, for this does capture a similarly incoherent, dreamlike quality – I suspect less through artistic vision, more a result of scenes that appear completely out of nowhere, bear exactly no relation to anything that has happened, then vanish without any further reference to them or their participants. If Andy Sidaris was Chinese, and entirely out of his gourd on magic mushrooms, this might be the sort of thing which would result. Just do not take that as any kind of recommendation.

Dir: “Pasha” (Shan Pa)
Star: Eva Bisset, Gigi Bovee, Emma Yeung, Hok Nin Lau
a.k.a. Virgin Apocalypse
or Terror in a Woman’s Prison
or, entirely inexplicably, Anger

Angel of Reckoning

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“Near-dead reckoning”

angel-of-reckoningReturning from a stint in the military, Rachel Baldwin (Kabasinski) is looking forward to reuniting and reconnecting with her family. But any hope of happiness is rudely disrupted when her niece slits her wrists in the bathtub. After the funeral, Rachel finds her late relative’s phone and realizes the reason for the suicide was a sex tape she’d made with her boyfriend (Wieczorek), which he had traded to a drug dealer for cocaine, and then ended up on the Internet, to her fatal shame. A thoroughly unimpressed Rachel decides to take her army skills and apply them to the sleazy individuals responsible, working her way up the ladder to Beverly (Hamblin), the woman at the top of the scumball chain of command.

This kind of thing certainly can work well: Sweet Karma is probably the best example of the genre immediately to come to mind. However, this is just too cheap a production for it to be any more than occasionally successful. The poster (right) promises a level of quality that the actual movie rarely if ever matches, in a way that significantly distracts from proceedings. For example, check out the supposed “cinema,” occupied entirely (and inexplicably!) by goths. The performances, in particular, are all over the place in terms of quality, often a real issue with low-budget film-making. The decent ones, such as that of Detective Trufont (Frederick Williams),  the cop chasing down the source of the ever-increasing body count, make the bad ones – by which I mean the rest of the heroine’s family – all the more noticeable.

The other main area of deficiency is the plot. It lurches from incident to incident rather than flowing, and there’s no sense of escalation as Rachel moves through the criminal underworld. I did enjoy the supporting role of former adult actress Jasmin St. Claire as an arms dealer – the makers certainly have to be given credit for casting against type there! But the only memorable action sequence was the one which took place in a shoot at a porn studio, to which our heroine had obtained an invitation to perform. The use of a strobe and UV lighting there was undeniably effective, if arguably somewhat contrived and gimmicky, and also put over her ruthless streak well.

Unfortunately, this is the exception, rather than the rule, and the other sequences are forgettable. It’s perhaps somewhat unfair to judge what’s clearly a small budget film, by comparing it against movies with far greater resources. However, when you’re lined up on the shelf in Wal-mart or wherever, there’s no discount given for limited resources. Although the film’s heart is in the right place, it simply falls short of delivering on its aims and goals. That said, it looks like the director’s studio, Killer Wolf Films, has produced some other GWG flicks; this showed enough promise, I wouldn’t be averse to checking out their current production, Hellcat’s Revenge, when it appears.

Dir: Len Kabasinski
Star: Jessica Kabasinski, Donna Hamblin, Lisa Neeld, Hunter Wieczorek

Angel’s Bounty

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“More double-blank domino, than a double-six”

angelsbountyHaving been involved in low-budget feature films (on both sides of the camera), I’m very much aware of how much dedication and hard work it takes to bring a feature to the screen. I tend to try and cut them slack where possible, especially when they’re in our genre. Unfortunately, the results here aren’t actually very good, and I struggled to stay focused on the film for much of the running time.

The heroine is Angel Sommers (Springer), a bounty hunter with dreams of opening a “doggie daycare” business in Los Angeles. Her chance comes when she gets notice of a fugitive called Tommy Briggs (Giuliotti), with a sizable reward on his head. And there’s a personal element too, for Briggs was involved in the death of Angel’s father, also a bounty-hunter, when she was a young girl. The capture of Briggs goes relatively smoothly. It’s the journey back that’s the problem, for it turns out his Russian ex-wife, Isabelle (Chris Stordahl) has her greedy eyes on Tommy’s life-insurance. To this end, she has hired a couple of bumbling assassins, who are intent on making sure he doesn’t make it into custody alive. If Angel gets in the way, that’s her problem.

In other words: nothing here you haven’t seen before. Right down to the bickering between the assassins about Doritos, which sounds like something from a first draft of a Tarantino movie, this is a warmed-over hodge-podge of over-familiar concepts and tropes. Curiously though, Angel is not particularly interested in revenge against the man who killed her father. You’d think there’d be a good deal more heat generated by that long-held grudge, yet the relationship remains almost defiantly low-key. The production also makes almost all the mistakes made by low-budget films. [I know, because we’ve made ’em.] Murky sound? Check. Supporting cast of enthusiastic amateurs? Check. Pointless cameo by a local band, in which the director may well have friends? Check: Guns of Nevada here.

There are occasional scenes that work. A nice one has Angel interacting with a husband and wife couple who run a motel. And I actually liked Springer, who brings an entirely appropriate, world-weary quality. However, the threat level of the hitmen is so feeble, there’s not a shred of excitement to be had. Which would be okay if the aim was comedy, except there’s even less mirth to be found here, than excitement. There’s also needless diversion in the shape of Angel’s cronies, who add nothing of significance to the entire production. Their roles should have been excised entirely, and the freed-up running time used to add depth to Angel, or her relationship with Tommy, the latter existing only because the plot demands it.

While it’s clear Fleming and Springer have a love for the genre, that isn’t enough to salvage this. And a demerit for apparent ballot-box stuffing on Amazon. A suspicious number of the glowing five-star reviews, are from people who have never reviewed anything else…

Dir: Lee Fleming
Star: Kristen Springer, J.P. Giuliotti, Alastair Bayardo, Travis Gray

Agent Carter: Season two

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“A movie based on a comic book? Sounds like a dreadful idea.”

The obviously self-referential parody of Peggy Carter’s line above indicates one of the main issues with this show: an uncertainty over whether or not it should be taking itself seriously. It wasn’t even clear if the network was doing so: sure, they gave it an extended run, the sophomore series running 10 episodes, two more than its original one. But somehow, they then ended up having to run most of those in double helpings, to fit them all in between a start that was two weeks later, and Agents of SHIELD‘s return. Probably no wonder it struggled for an audience, the premiere scoring less than half the ratings obtained by season one, then dropping a further 25% from there. Between that and its star signing on for another ABC series, legal drama Conviction, it would not surprise me if this is Carter’s swansong, despite an ending which hints at more. [Though recent rumors suggest it may survive to fight another season]

That’s a bit of a shame, as I felt the show was better this time round, not least because they dropped the tedious “Carter has to prove herself” subplot, which was flogged to death in the first season. Praise be, she is now regarded as competent enough to be trusted by those around her. It relocates Peggy Carter (Atwell) from New York to Los Angeles, where she helps Daniel Souza, the chief of the new SSR office there, investigate the mysterious case of a woman’s body found in a frozen lake. The trail leads to Isodyne Energy and their research into “zero matter”, an extra-dimensional energy potentially more powerful than an atom bomb. When the owner’s wife, actress Whitney Frost (Everett) is exposed to the matter, she develops abilities, but also a very bad attitude, and it’s up to Peggy and her SSR colleagues to stop her from cracking open our dimension.

agentcarter2

At its best, this is smart and a great deal of fun – it’s good to see Marvel providing not just a heroine, but a villainess, and, indeed, at one point Carter is forced to turn to her season one enemy, Dottie Underwood for help, completing a trifecta of female awesomeness. Much less interesting are the ongoing dismal efforts to shoehorn romance into the proceedings, even if last season’s focus of unresolved sexual tension, Howard Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis (D’Arcy), suddenly turns out to have a wife. Instead, Carter’s affections are divided between Sousa and Isodyne scientist Dr. Jason Wilkes – though since the latter spends most of the season only tangentially connected to our dimension, this makes for more puppy-eye gazing than anything. All this is no less annoying than the first time round, and Marvel still seem unable to grasp that a heroine does not “need” a man, any more than their heroes “need” women. Nor did we really need a musical dream sequence, which I find the last refuge of the desperate show-runner, even if it did give us a quick cameo from Lyndsy Fonseca.

On the other hand, Atwell remains as good a figure as ever, and I did enjoy the dry stabs at wit, with the characters playing nicely off each other, in between romantic interludes. It also helped that there was a single, over-arching storyline, while its predecessor seemed to spend most of its time thrashing about, trying to find a direction. If the series is renewed, it’s those positive aspects I hope are emphasized in its third season: while there remains a lot of room for improvement, there is also significant potential, and it would be interesting to see how the show bridged the gap between its era and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Star: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Wynn Everett, Reggie Austin

Awaken

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“Liver and let die.”

awakenThere’s a stellar B-movie cast here, of faces you’ll recognize, even if you don’t remember their names; let me start by listing a few. Vinnie Jones! Daryl Hannah! Edward Furlong! Robert Davi! Michael Paré! David Keith! Even Benny Urquidez, whom I don’t recall seeing since he memorably battled Jackie Chan in a couple of 80’s flicks. Shame the plot is such nonsensical garbage. The heroine is Billie Kope (Burn), whose sister disappeared five years ago and Billie has been trying to solve the mystery ever since. She mysteriously wakes up to find herself on a tropical island with a group of other, similarly abducted people, who are occasionally hunted by camo-clad soldiers, under the command of Sarge (Jones). Turns out they are, effectively, a holding pen for an organ trafficking ring run by Rich (London). With the help of some of the the other prisoners, such as Nick (Copon), Billie has to fight her way off their island prison and find the truth about her sister’s fate, before becoming a live organ-donor herself.

There’s so much here that doesn’t make sense, with characters wandering in and out of the movie without logic; for example, leader of the prisoners Quentin (Davi) just walks out of the plot, and you never find out either what happens to Mao (Hannah), whose daughter is intended as the recipient of Billie’s liver. I’m not certain of the medical accuracy of much of what’s depicted either, but I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, so we’ll leave that alone. Instead, I wallowed in some of the more surreal aspects, such as the football commentary Sarge is listening to on the radio; seriously, just listen to it and see if it sounds like any game you’ve ever heard. Though at least Jones, and to a lesser degree Hannah, appear to have realized the dumbness of what they signed onto, and decided to go full, bone-in ham and have some fun with it. If only the rest of the cast had adopted the same approach.

However, Burr isn’t too bad: she also co-produced and co-wrote the film, so credit is certainly due for her passion. While she could do with some more muscle, she packs the right attitude and the scenes of her training with her father (Urquidez) set the tone early. She uses a brisk, no-nonsense style of fighting, closest to MMA than kung-fu, and the fights in general are edited and put together well – fast-paced, yet still coherent, which is less common than it should be. Unfortunately, it’s the storyline which strangles this puppy, and any viewer who is moderately high up the evolutionary ladder will be alternating raised eyebrows and derisive snorts for much of its duration. Occasionally-decent action makes this just about an adequate time-passer, and there’s worse on Netflix. Yet, that last clause falls more into the “damning with faint praise” category, and is hardly much of a recommendation.

Dir: Mark Atkins
Star: Natalie Burn, Michael Copon, Jason London, Vinnie Jones

Assassination

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“Burning Japanese.”

assassinationNot, in any way, to be confused with The Assassin, despite both being distributed in the United States by Well Go, this is substantially more entertaining, being a nicely put-together period actioner that, in some ways, reminded me of Inglourious Bastards. In 1933, Korea was occupied by Japanese forces, against which a slew of liberation movements fought. As part of the rebellion, plans are afoot to assassinate Kawaguchi Mamoru, the local Japanese governor and Kang In-gook (Lee G-y), a Korean tycoon who has collaborated with the occupiers. Tasked with leading a small group to carry out the mission is Ahn Ok-yun (Jun), a lethal sniper; she’s bailed out of military prison where she has been sent for “accidentally” shooting her superior. Yeom Seok-Jin (Lee J-j) is overseeing the operation, but is actually working for the Japanese, and hires an independent hit-man (Ha), known as “Hawaiian Pistol” to sabotage it. Making things infinitely more complex, it turns out that Kang’s daughter is actually the twin sister of Ahn, the women having been separated and brought up, oblivious of each other’s existence.

There’s a very good sense of time here, with a lot of money having clearly been spent on sets, costumes, motor vehicles and everything else necessary to create Korea of the time. The action sequences are slickly put-together, without ever devolving into excess; to be honest, they’re probably a bit more plausible than the plot, where the “twin” aspect leads, in the final reel, to some developments that pass beyond incredible to uncredible. It is also more than somewhat relentless in its anti-Japanese message, bordering on the xenophobic, albeit perhaps for understandable reasons, and at 140 minutes, feels a good 20 too long. That said, there’s still an awful lot to enjoy here, in the performances and complex plot, which ends up spanning nearly 40 years from prologue to epilogue, as well as the glorious set-piece battles. The pick of these is probably the group’s first attempt as assassinating their targets, diverting them to a gas station and into a killing zone on their way out of the city, but equally as impressive is a gun-battle when a wedding devolves into a siege situation [which explains the image, above right!]

I was trying to figure out why Jun was familiar, and eventually realized she had starred in the live-action adaptation of Blood: The Last Vampire. While that was largely forgettable, she has become a huge star in her native Korea, both in film and on television. This is certainly more impressive than Blood, and she is certainly the emotional heart of the film, as well as providing some of its most memorable moments, such as when she pauses on the way to begin her mission, to take out a pair of Japanese machine-gun nests, with a grand total of four bullets. This kind of swift characterization demonstrates her character’s competence early, and the film even avoids the obvious desire for a romantic subplot. Despite the obvious issues noted above, the positives are good enough to outweigh them, and overall, this provides an enjoyable couple of hours of wartime derring-do.

Dir:
Star: Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae, Ha Jung-woo, Lee Geung-young