Yes, Madam! (1985)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2008-11-20
A very deep and talented cast, a script that wanders around while concentrating on the wrong people, paper thin characters who don’t develop and an extended action sequence that has some very brutal and (unfortunately for some of the stunt men and extras) realistic looking hand to hand combat—“Yes, Madam” was just another day at the office in the film business in Hong Kong in the 1980s. It’s a female buddy movie where the buddies never really connect emotionally but they do lay waste to platoons of villains.

Since we don’t find out anything interesting about Inspector Ng and Inspector Morris the focus of the film moves from extremely well choreographed and executed action scenes to dreadful and dreary scenes of three petty thieves trying to be funny and failing. While one should always review the film as such and not what it could have been, there are just too many missed opportunities to ignore. The most obvious lacuna involves our heroines. Some backstory, a bit of bridging cultural differences, some female bonding around something other than spinning side kicks, even a glimpse of them as people who think and feel as well as punch and kick might have made this a very different and possibly much better movie.

Michelle Yeoh crashes headfirst—and directly at the camera--through a glass barrier on a balcony while hanging from the balcony rail by her knees, much like kids hang from jungle gyms in schoolyards. She grabs two villains and using the momentum of her swinging body, pulls them past the jagged glass and onto the marble floor twenty feet below. This scene is difficult to describe (at least for me) but impossible to forget and could have launched the girls with guns genre on its own. Yeoh’s Inspector Ng is brave, resourceful, and outrageous. Cynthia Rothrock’s Inspector Carrie Morris has the same qualities—they are so alike (other than the obvious racial/ethnic differences) that at first the two of them get in each other’s way and on each other’s nerves. It doesn’t take long, though, for the most basic similarity they share to come out—each is great at dispatching bad guys in the most outrageous and flamboyant ways possible. And each, of course, looks great while doing so