I don’t know if it is Freudian, but the sight
of Jade Leung running down the street with an enormous revolver in her
hand is quite exhilarating to me. This, her first film, is a remake of
La Femme Nikita and then the later Point of No Return and though Jade is
not as good an actress as either Anne Parillaud or Bridgette Fonda, her
action sequences appear much more authentic than the other two actresses
Jade has a feral athleticism and intensity that
makes her character very believable and the action in true HK fashion goes
way beyond the two other versions. I love the look on her face as she cuts
the throat of the Yakuza in the hot spring and the scene of her shooting
as a car is dragging her down the street.
For those not familiar with any of the above films
- Jade is caught after killing someone (though here he deserved it - unlike
Nikita), but instead of going to jail she is recruited by the CIA to be
a professional killer. Simon Yam is her CIA keeper. The unfinished ending
obviously leaves open the likelihood of a sequel.
My rating for this film: 8.5
Reviewed by YTSL
Three thoughts kept on asserting themselves
as I viewed this movie, all of which were related to its top biller.
The first of them was: If Jade Leung is ANYTHING like the BLACK CAT
character this petite-sized human portrays in the movie of the same name,
she truly would be one tremendously scary creature. The second one
was: If she is not, then she must be a really good actress indeed
(Maybe others thought this too; hence her winning the Hong Kong Film "Best
Newcomer" Award for her performance in this production).
The third one was: Did this young woman
-- a fashion design student newly returned from Switzerland and only twenty-one
years old when she made this, her maiden film -- have any idea what
she was getting herself into? Nudity is the least of it here (although
it is a Category II movie with no frontal nudity, Leung is obviously fully
naked in quite a few scenes. This apart, I have not seen a Hong Kong
movie where an assassin is so often shown wearing only -- admittedly plain
– underwear before...). Rather, some of the training segments and
others of the action scenes are quite brutal. And while I do know
that it is "only" a movie after all, this IS a Hong Kong actioneer:
I.e., famously containing minimum special effects, featuring fights which
entail actual contact between the battlers, having actors who (mainly)
do their own stunts. Thus, I am inclined
to believe that, say, when we see an actual human (not some rag doll or
obvious dummy) being buffeted by the roaring water in one scene, that WAS
Jade Leung (and not a stunt double) that we were watching then and there...
The fact that these were the three consuming
thoughts that I had throughout the whole movie points to two things.
On a positive note, its remarkable star utterly dominates the picture.
On the other hand, this is in large part because there is not much else
to this production than this novice actress. That Leung manages to
carry..."drag" may be a more appropriate word here...the movie as far as
she has through her actions (but not her words...she does not say much;
and probably her most memorable line -- uttered in English and repeatedly
-- is "I want to go pee"!) is a tribute to her but a damning indictment
of the rest of the cast (maybe with the exception of Simon Yam) and crew.
Final comment: If you see this movie, see
it only for Jade Leung. For those of you who prefer higher quality
movies featuring female assassins, I would variously recommend instead
"On the Run" (a classy film noir effort), "Beyond Hypothermia" (not without
flaws but obviously made with a larger budget) and "Naked Killer" (a guilty
pleasure – such stylish trash!).
My rating for this film: 5.5.