The Avenging Quartet (1993)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2006-01-01
Summary: One to avoid
That movie wasn’t released, it escaped.

It was an inflight movie and I still wanted to walk out.

While it is true that no one plans to make a bad movie, lots of them still get made, including “The Avenging Quartet”. While there were certainly worse movies released in 1993—possibly even a worse movie released on the same day as this one, somewhere in the world, TAQ has such star power, such an incredible lineup of Girls with Guns cinematic royalty that its failure to be even mildly entertaining really stands out. As much as anything this shows there is no foolproof formula for making a good movie—no matter how perfect the blueprint seems there is a huge gulf between the conception of a movie and what winds up on screen. TAQ fell into that gulf with a resounding splash.

Moon Lee was adorable, sexy and tough; Cynthia Khan was glamorous, sexy and strong; Yukari Oshima was elegant, sexy and dangerous; Michiko Nishiwaka was edgy, sexy and malicious. Unfortunately Moon and Cynthia spent a lot of time pining over a depressive art forger played with stupefying detachment by Waise Lee. Additionally, Moon’s character was stuck with thwarting the advances of a bungling, unattractive, ineffectual and (worst of all) completely unfunny police officer. Michiko played Moon’s former sister-in-law (widow of Moon’s elder brother) who was unhinged and erratic and who also tried a brief and unsuccessful fling with Lee’s artist. In a very memorable and disgusting cameo Moon’s elder brother showed himself to be as insane as his wife, which is very. Yukari’s character was the only one who made any sense—she was a highly trained and lethal warrior who dispatched armed ninjas before breakfast.

I am almost never bothered by continuity errors in a film—they happen in gazillion dollar Hollywood blockbusters, lovingly crafted independent movies and direct to video shelf fillers—but couldn’t ignore some of them here. Moon Lee ended on scene wearing a different dress than the one she started it in; Cynthia Kahn didn’t have a purse at the beginning of a scene but had one the size of suitcase at its end. Characters exited to the right when the only door was to the left; a body said on television news to have been burned beyond recognition turned out to look like someone covered with black greasepaint.

“The Avenging Quartet” will probably continue to be rented and purchased by those (like me in this case) who ignore its lukewarm to dreadful reviews and are captivated by the cast, title and cover art.

Recommended only for those who want to see every bit of film with one or more of the featured actresses.
Reviewer Score: 2