Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Angel Terminators

Director: Wai Lit
Starring: Yeung Pan Pan, Carrie Ng, Kenneth Tsang, Hui Ying Hung

 Here's a sadly neglected late entry in the 'Girls With Guns' cycle.

 In it, 70's kung fu faves Yeung Pan Pan and Hui Ying Hung play a pair of Dirty Harriet detectives who will go to any extreme to solve a case or bust whatever lowlife scum they happen upon. When Hui is called away, Yeung sets her sites on a mob kingpin (played by Kenneth Tsang) who is returning from Thailand to reclaim his empire, bringing with him some international sleezeballs in the form of genre faves Michiko Nishiwaki (who cuts off her pinkie Yakuza style after a blown mission) and Mark Houghton (who has made a career out of such parts). A subplot involves Tsang's former mistress (Carrie Ng) who has left him to marry another man... who just happens to be a young up and coming policeman.

Having been lensed in 1992, 'Angel Terminators' offers a particularly rough and ready melding of both the 'Girls With Guns' and 'Heroic Bloodshed'  genres. Along with the expected bloody shootouts that dominated the post John Woo scene, it features many terrific fight sequences among it's more than capable cast as well as some of the most insanely dangerous looking stunts I have ever seen (yes, EVER), highlighted by a climatic jump from rooftop to telephone line some thirty feet off the ground (all in one medium angle shot that appears to have been done without a safety net) that is the pinnacle of death defying filmmaking. The low budget and poor editing do the pic no service, but can't detract from the mind roasting action on display.

The cast truly give it their all here. Yeung Pan Pan started out in period martial arts films like 'Two Wondorous Tigers' in the late 70s before moving on to the modern day action that would dominate the HK movie scene. This is one of her few starring roles and it's really a shame that she wasn't given more opportunities to take center stage as she was definitely up to the challenge in every respect. A martial artist since the age of 4, Yeung's fighting skills and fearlessness regarding stuntwork are absolutely second to none. She also displays some strong acting skills as late in the film, she is captured and drugged and is forced to go through cold turkey ala Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle in 'French Connection 2'. Hui Ying Hung made her claim to fame by being featured in Liu Chia Liang's classic Shaw Brothers films like 'My Young Auntie' and 'The Lady is the Boss'. She was never able to replicate her Shaw success in these later films, but her supreme martial arts skills and natural charisma elevate anything she appears in. Kenneth Tsang is perhaps best known for playing the owner of the taxi cab company in Woo's 'Better Tomorrow' films. He plays a memorably slimy villian here, seemingly under control through much of it only to ultimately reveal his inner rage It's a thoroughly hissable perf. Carrie Ng's glamorous beauty serves her well here as the doomed love interest and she proves to be... let's say, a good sport as the target of Tsang's frustrations. Bad guy supreme Dick Wei shows up at the end to offer a brief, but welcome high energy scuffle as he takes on both Yeung and Hui.

 'Angel Terminators' is truly a hidden gem. It isn't perfect, but it's a real blast of modern Hong Kong action that no self respecting fan of the genre should miss. It comes highly recommended.

*** / ****


  1. Great write-up! Looks like a lot of fun. Will have to check this out.

    1. Thanks Ty! I think you'll really like it. Gritty, hard hitting,no-nonsense stuff with unbelievable stuntwork.