In the Line of Duty III (1988)
Reviewed by: MrBooth on 2014-06-18
Summary: Fairly shambolic
A pair of jewel thieves rob a jewelry exhibition, killing dozens in the process - including the young protege of Inspector Hiroshi Fujioka. When the thieves discover that the stolen jewels are fake, they travel to Hong Kong to track down the designer whose exhibition they raided. Inspector Fujioka follows them there, where the local police are tasked with keeping him out of trouble - a job that is delegated to Madam Yeung (Cynthia Khan).

ITLOD3 is the film that started the IN THE LINE OF DUTY series, retrospectively retitling YES, MADAM! and ROYAL WARRIORS as parts 2 and 1 and attempting to pitch Cynthia Khan as the successor to Michelle Yeoh (also known as Michelle Khan) and Cynthia Rothrock. The plot has echoes of ROYAL WARRIORS but is rather undeveloped... a bunch of stuff happens, but when it makes narrative sense it's probably more due to judicious editing than forethought.

The production generally has that charmingly Hong Kong feel of being shot on the fly without too much thought as to what the next day would bring and little more than an outline for a script. Whilst this approach has produced some of Hong Kong's finest works, where creativity and enthusiasm were allowed free reign, ITLOD3 feels more like a half-hearted effort to produce a clone work. A set of familiar ingredients are thrown into a wok and stir-fried, the result tipped out onto the plate without much attention to artistry.

Given this, the film basically has to stand or fall on its action scenes. There are quite a few of them, but nothing that reaches the kind of jaw-dropping heights of spectacle that films like ROYAL WARRIORS or RIGHTING WRONGS manage to achieve. Part of this is due to the fact that Cynthia Khan isn't that great a fighter or acrobat - she doesn't seem to pack much of a punch, and although she's reasonably limber she doesn't pull off any truly impressive moves, and is clearly doubled on even relatively straightforward stunts.

Michiko Nishiwaki doesn't do all that much better as the villain, though, and she's proven that she's capable and willing, so perhaps the fault lies with the action directors not giving the girls better choreography.

The film isn't actively unpleasant to watch, but it feels like a rather lackluster effort compared to the Michelle Yeoh films it seeks to imitate, or the far more impressive Cynthia Khan sequel IN THE LINE OF DUTY IV.
Reviewer Score: 5

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