Friday, April 08, 2011

yes, madam!

no diclofenac...


three hapless crooks - strepsil (john shum), aspirin (mang hoi) and panadol (tsui hark) - accidentally find themselves in possession of a forged contract, which could land the corrupt property developer, henry tin (james tin), in a lot of trouble. his henchman, dick (dick wei), is hot on their trail, along with senior inspectors ng (michelle yeoh) and morris (cynthia rothrock) of the hong kong police and scotland yard, respectively, who want to bring down tin.

after making a strong debut with 'ninja in the dragon's den', it was three years before corey yuen returned to the director's chair in hong kong, having spent time away, directing 'no retreat, no surrender'. with 'yes madam!' he produced a film which is a classic example of mid-eighties hong kong cinema and set off on a path that would see him responsible for some of my favourite movies.

what you get here is a contemporary action-comedy-drama, which features a selection of hairstyles and clothing which has dated gloriously. besides the fashions, you have a narrative which nicely weaves together the good guys (sorry, girls), the good-bad guys and the straight up bad guys. And, in that trademark hong kong style, this means that some pretty violent action sequences are going to sit next to scenes of exposition, delivered by over the top villains, followed by a selection of goofball antics, before injecting some melodrama and, you just know, that the transition of tone isn't always going to be handled in a way that doesn't jar the audience.

so, what you have is michelle yeoh and cynthia rothrock doing battle with the likes of dick wei and chung faat (with his ludicrous fake 'tache), james tin roaring through a scene, sammo hung, richard ng and david chiang popping up with a comedy cameo, all weaving in and out of the scenes between john shum, mang hoi and tsui hark. it is the scenes featuring this triumvirate which account for most of the film and, being someone who has warmed to hong kong comedy, i'm more than happy watching their antics; with it being a treat, in particular (for me, at least), to see tsui hark in front of the camera.

still, if goofy humour and silliness isn't your thing, there's still plenty to enjoy. the opening scene is a cracker; more violent than i remember and michelle yeoh being shown off, with her martial arts skills, gunplay and stuntwork all being employed in frenetic style. cynthia gets a similar opportunity when eddie maher makes the mistake of taking her hostage at the airport. there's a smattering of other action scenes throughout the film, including a really fun sequence in tsui hark's apartment, and it all builds up to a tremendously watchable, bone-crunching final showdown, which is a real treat.

great stuff...

the dvd is hk$79 from buyoyo.com

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