Ml (1996)
Yes Madam 5

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 02/22/2007
Summary: For Cynthia Khan fans only

James Carville and Mary Matlin are political consultants in the United States. They are married to each other, have children and have co-authored a book on presidential campaigns. What makes them exceptional is that they have diametrically opposed political viewpoints—Matlin is a Republican, Carville a Democrat. While politics may make strange bedfellows (literally in this case) their situation is simple compared to that of Ho Chan and Inspector Lam Yeung as depicted in “Yes Madam 5”. Ho Chan is the grandson of a local triad chieftain and is set to inherit the family business which is presently being run by his uncle as Ho learns the intricacies of the crime business. Yeung is a senior officer with the Hong Kong police department who works with Interpol and runs an anti-triad squad that is targeting Ho Chan and his gang. The two of them are a couple—he has a key to her house and is probably living there at least part of the time. They are all but engaged and actually may become engaged to each other early in the movie—at least Ho Chan asked Yeung to marry him and she didn’t seem opposed to the idea. Loading this impossible relationship onto the already frail structure of “Yes Madam 5” turns what should have been an average crime movie that would appeal to fans of Cynthia Khan into a barely watchable mess full of unbelievable circumstances and risible dialogue.

They aren’t star-crossed lovers in the league of Romeo and Juliet but neither of them will stop doing what they are doing so they compromise by not talking about it. On the day that Ho proposes to Officer Yeung, for example, they have to put things off because he has to make a quick trip to Malaysia. What is left unsaid is that when he gets to Kuala Lumpur he needs to find some incriminating evidence and dispose of it. Things like that can get a relationship off to a rocky start.

A true fan—a fanatic—will happily suffer through almost anything in order to see and hear the object of his obsession. And so I sat down to watch “Yes Madam 5”. It is a dull piece of work by almost everyone involved, a by the numbers triad vs. cop story.

The coming handover to the PRC didn’t raise the standards of the Hong Kong police force according to its filmmakers. Officer Yeung is shown giving a briefing to her Interpol squad, discussing the murder of an undercover officer, an officer who had not only infiltrated the gang but had become close friends with the gangster who wants to marry her. Love may be blind but this asking the audience to stretch its ability to suspend disbelief a bit too far. There is one extremely strange set of scenes in which Ho, now in Malaysia, runs from a bunch of toughs armed with choppers. The tough guys are after Ann who unwittingly is in possession of key evidence on a computer disc. Ho wants the disc but, being a gentleman, also wants to save her life. Officer Yeung pulls up with her Malaysian colleagues and things stop dead for a minute as the fleeing Ho and the dumbstruck Yeung stare at each other, everyone ignoring the machete wielding maniacs bearing down on them.

The vehicle theft statistics for the Malaysian capital were really skewed by this adventure since everyone commandeered either a car or a motorcycle to escape or chase. It becomes a five unit chase—the chief thug on a motorcycle chased by Yeung on another cycle while Ho and Ann try to escape from two other thugs who are being chased by the two Malaysian cops assigned to Yeung. Like much of the movie it is dull and takes too long. A bit later a speedboat and a Jet-ski are also taken without permission.

There is one bit of possibly unintentional humor: toward the end of the movie Ann is chased by bad guys who are chased by good guys. They are beating the hell out of each other as they run through a hotel lobby, across the deck of a swimming pool and into a golf course. Kicks and punches and exchanged—sometimes in slow motion—and weapons are brandished as Yeung and the Malaysian cops try to keep the triad thugs from killing Ann and taking the disc. The chase ends, though, when Ann runs into a tree! It was a real “What was that all about?” moment.

Among the few redeeming features are lots of nice images of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang that could be (and probably are) stock film provided by tourist bureaus. They make all three places look like lovely spots for a working vacation—even if the work you are doing is killing people with choppers.

Shortly after her arrival in KL, one of the Malaysian police officers said to Cynthia Khan “Inspector Yeung, I hear you are good at kung fu.” I expected a sparring match to break out right there and it would have been a welcome diversion if it had. He went on to say that in Malaysia the police generally don’t use firearms when making an arrest which was a set up for a number of fights between our heroine and both Billy Chow and Phillip Ko.

The fights themselves weren’t very well designed, shot or edited although it was still a treat to see Ms. Khan deliver some crunching kicks, always looking fetching while doing so. Billy Chow was his usual insanely murderous self, his character obviously one who really enjoyed his job of hurting people.

There was quite a bit of padding to stretch “Yes Madam 5” to 85 minutes. In addition to the dramatic cityscapes and pleasant countryside of peninsular Malaysia there were shots of people walking up and down stairs, waiting for elevators, riding on elevators, trying to hail cabs—the minutiae of everyday life that doesn’t belong in a movie of this type. There were flashbacks to scenes that had just happened and flashbacks within the flashbacks, none of which added anything to our appreciation of what was happening.

A movie for fans of Cynthia Khan and secondarily Billy Chow

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A low budget wanna-be action film starring Cynthia Khan asInspector Yeung of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force. Her boyfriend is a somewhat reluctant triad member played by a slick and serious Chin Siu Ho. Trouble begins when these two find each other involved in opposite sides of a police investigation to recover a floppy disc containing incriminating triad information. The requisite car chases and gun battles follow. The action is average, but the fighting is sparse and unremarkable, made worse by recycled footage, sloppy camera work, and incompetent editting. Even veteran hard hitters Chin Siu Ho and Billy Chow don't have much to work with. Recommended for die-hard Cynthia Khan fans only (like myself).

[Reviewed by Alex Smits]