China Heat (1992)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2007-09-03
Summary: Sibelle Hu's all girl army
“China Heat” is by no means the worst of the girls with guns movies that hit the jade screen about 15 years ago. There isn’t much of a plot and what there is doesn’t make sense, none of the characters, including the main ones (or at least those with most screen time) are developed in the least and the reason everyone is killing everyone else—possession of ring with a secret compartment—is so lame that it almost derails the entire undertaking.

Almost but not quite since “China Heat” has enough action for two movies. The weapons of choice on both sides are very compact machine guns, light enough to be fired with one hand leaving the other hand free for a pistol or, in a few cases, another machine gun. Some of the gunplay is dull—an ambush on the beach of some drug runners by Sibelle Hu’s all girl SWAT team is cumbersome enough to be maneuvers by the Eighth Route Army—but other fights are fast, exciting and very violent. With five action directors and three cinematographers it makes sense that some of the action scenes will be very different looking—and more impressive--than others. The last set of sequences, which take place in a deserted container port, is terrific. After shooting thousands of bullets just about everyone runs out of ammunition so they fight each other with their feet and fists. Some of the individual battles are made to look very brutal. One of Sibelle’s comrades, Yolanda in the subtitles, is an acknowledged martial arts master who beats her very fit and dangerous foe to death. At the same time Mandy, another sidekick but one who is not as skilled, looks to be facing the same fate at the hands of her antagonist.

Allen Lan is the bad guy from hell, the indestructible villain, the evil doer who simply can’t be killed. There is a long—a bit too long but only a bit—battle between Lan and Michael Depasquale that ranges over a container ship, a crane and some very slippery metal steps. We are surprised that Lan’s character escapes from this exhausting fight but not that he runs into Ms. Hu who finally disables him. Both Sophia Crawford and Mark Houghton make brief but memorable appearances as very tough villains—they add even more to the carnage.

One of the main differences between Hong Kong police action pictures of the era and those done in Hollywood is that in the USA the cops almost never shoot first and not even the toughest officer will shoot a bad guy in the back. In “China Heat” as the pace of the action quickens in the container port battles and the bad guys are being routed our heroines don’t stop shooting the fleeing criminals until they run out of ammunition which is much more laudable behavior given the dastardly crimes they have committed.

One issue--we have this movie as a Hong Kong production but all the uniforms, badges, and other official looking paraphenalia have PRC insignia and devices.

Recommended but not too highly for fans of the girls with guns subgenre
Reviewer Score: 4