Guard Soldier (2000)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2006-11-13
Summary: Bad. Spoilers included in review.
“Guard Soldier” has all the attributes one generally associates with Tiawan movies shot on video—wooden acting, dull costumes, sets that look like (and probably are) hotel rooms, private homes and office building lobbies guns that throw sparks when fired but have no recoil and a barely there plot. It is watchable, at least for me, because it stars Cynthia Khan, an actress who seems to have missed out on stardom for reasons that are far from apparent. She is by far the best thing—perhaps the only really positive thing--about this movie. Expressive face, large eyes, full but natural looking lips, very convincing as someone who can kick ass and take names.

The plot, such as it is, centers on the connection between small arms dealing and shoddy construction practices in an earthquake zone. President Day is the bad guy—all the other hoodlums take orders from him. Conflict is epitomized in Jei, an honest engineer for one of Day’s companies who refuses to sign off on construction using substandard concrete. In order to convince him to do so Day has his lawyer and his chief thug kidnap his son. When that doesn’t quite work he sends a platoon of hitmen after the family, killing Mei (Jei’s wife) and their son and injuring the engineer.

Bittersweet romance—Jei and Mary (Cynthia Khan) were lovers years before and she turned down a chance to go to the States with him. Mary is now leading the investigation into President Day so they are thrown together once again. Sparks do not ignite.

Gunfights break out every ten minutes or so. Most of them involve Sir Ma the half insane henchman of President Day. One example of the ineptitude with which “Guard Soldier” was shot and edited takes place after a shootout between Ma and his cohorts and a gang who wants a small piece of the action. Everyone but Ma and the other gang leader are killed during the first volley, leaving the two of them stalking each other around a huge pillar. This could have been an exciting or at least interesting as Ma closed in for the kill but any drama was squeezed out of the scene by the sloppy framing and unimaginative camera work.

Cynthia does dispatch a few bad guys using punches and kicks, vaults over a couple of fences and dodges some hand grenades. She is fast and fit and moves with an easy grace. It is unfortunate that her career was full of dreck like this.

Outtakes are shown under the closing credits—the director could have included this footage in the movie without losing much.

Recommended for those (like me) who want to see everything with Ms. Khan.
Reviewer Score: 2