Black Cat


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 can deliver.
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.