New Kids in Town (a.k.a.
New Killers in Town)
Director: Lau Ga-yung
Duration: 85 minutes
Due to the presence of Moon Lee and Sophia
Crawford this film has usually been thrown into the Girls with Guns bucket,
but it is in fact much more a generic action film with lots of punches
and kicks thrown by both genders. It has a solid cast of B-action players
who made their living with films like this – the aforementioned Moon and
Sophia plus Chin Siu-ho, Karel Wong and Eddie Mahler – not to mention the
presence of a legend – Lau Kar Leung who also takes on the action choreography
chores. The action is up to the good standards of these types of films
though often they felt somewhat abbreviated. On the plus side - one of
the action scenes is rather impressive for its location (on the steps of
the often pictured St. Paul’s in Macau) and the final fight between Lau
and Maher displays some of Lau’s vaunted pole fighting ability and it is
a pleasure to watch the master at work.
It has an underlying theme that spilled into many
Hong Kong films in the run up to the Handover in 1997 – an implied suggestion
that Hong Kong was vastly superior to Mainland China – but also in this
case more dangerous. Two martial art brothers come to Hong Kong to live
with their uncle (Lau Kar Leung) and their cousin Siu Fung (Moon Lee).
Shing (Chin Siu-ho) is the quiet serious sort while his brother Ho (Lee
Ga-sing) wants to party and says “tell Cherie Chung I am coming”. They
both love Hong Kong till the trouble begins. It doesn’t take long and is
over of all things a roller skating contest.
Yeung (Karel Wong) is the right hand man to the
boss played by Eddie Maher with other underlings being Sophia Crawford
and Cheung Kwok-leung. Maher who I believe is of mixed Asian/Caucasian
parentage must have gotten tired of always being called a half breed or
something worse in his roles, but that is again what he is referred to
a few times in this film. Anyway, Yeung has a roller skating protégé
under his eye and between his sheets and he wants to fix things so that
she will win the next contest. Her only competition is Mimi, good friend
to Siu Fung and by extension friends also to Shing and Ho. In a fracas
in a disco Mimi’s hand is intentionally hurt and so Siu Fung has to stand
in for her at the contest and we know from one of her earlier films (Nocturnal
Demon) that Moon is a hell of a roller skater. This turns out to be closer
to roller derby than roller skating as both girls with hockey stick in
hand go after one another with Siu Fung's opponent ending up badly injured
(or perhaps dead?).
This really pisses off Yeung who had earlier set
an elderly man in a wheelchair on fire just because he could and he declares
all out war on Siu Fung and her friends. Don’t villains have better things
to do like extortion, drug dealing and pimping? I guess it was the slow
season and the film happily descends into a series of fights – and an impressive
jump off one of those very high bridges in Macau – the Taipa Bridge perhaps?
For all of this, Lau Kar Leung is conveniently off in Singapore visiting
relatives but he gets back to find out that his daughter is being held
captive by Maher and his gang. This does not please him. This was an enjoyable
B action film that needed just a bit more Moon in motion to have pushed
it higher. The film also puts Crawford to poor use only giving her a brief
scuffle with Moon.
My rating for this film: 6.5