What a terrifically fun film this is to watch
with nearly wall to wall action from start to finish. The fighting is inventive
with a lot of interesting twists and a fair amount of wires being used.
I haven’t seen wires utilized nearly as much in any other of the Angela
Mao films that I have seen, but it is quite fun to see her somersault over
her enemies or jump up into a tree to escape their blows. And as a bonus,
not only do we get the wonderful presence of Angela, but also another of
the better known female film warriors of that time, Judy Lee.
With slight echoes of the Good, the Bad and
the Ugly, the film begins with the four bosses robbing the five shining
pearls and killing the escorts. They then divide the booty and split off
in different directions. There soon appear on their trail three separate
individuals looking to track them down and capture them.
Angela Mao is the sheriff of the area in which
the robbery took place. This is a different side to Angela than I have
seen before. She has a bit of a mean streak as we first come across her
torturing two suspects with a bamboo stake see-saw contraption. As she
says later in the film “I don’t really like killing. I prefer torture”.
Go Angela ! Other than her usual assortment of deadly kicks and punches,
she also has these scarves that she shoots out from her sleeves to entwine
The second person chasing after the bad guys is
Judy Lee – who had a relative killed in the attack – and is looking for
revenge. Her weapon of choice is a twirling baton type object and she travels
nowhere without a coffin at the ready for her enemies.
Finally the third hunter is the silent bodyguard
of the Prince – who owns the pearls. He never talks – though he points
out that he can – he just doesn’t like to. So he communicates by various
scrolls and always seems to have the proper one at hand to unfurl. His
sword is also always near by with which he is quite deadly.
The three fight among themselves almost as much
as with their enemies – and form shifting alliances – but slowly they track
down the bosses and their gangs – one by one. Each little fight has
something fun about it and the film rarely lets up for more than a few
As usual with these films, one has to wade through
dreadfully dubbed dialogue. I lost count of the number of times in which
Angela tells the other two – “I’m capturing these guys, you two stay out
of the way”. I only wonder if it’s just as bad in Chinese.
Judy Lee is very impressive in this film with
her wonderful twirling, killing baton. According to Deadly China Dolls,
she was a classmate of Angela at the opera school. She made over sixty
films and won the Golden Horse award in a film called The Escape. She retired
from films in the early 1980’s.