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新紮師姐之不安全地帶 (2003)
Danger Zone

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 02/07/2008

“Danger Zone” is a police drama that centers on Madam Shum’s team and their mission to get evidence for the prosecution of a drug lord who had been detained while on his way to the airport. While it has too many coincidences and too few developed characters to be convincing or suspenseful it is leagues ahead of the movie to which it would be most compared, "Brush Up My Sisters" which covered the same women during their time in the police academy. Everyone looks gorgeous. Jade Leung is fetching in her HK senior police commander uniform, slim as a sword blade and with cheekbones sharp enough to cut paper. The rest of the cast spend most of their time in jeans and sweatshirts—it is mainly the story of keeping a key witness from being murdered by the drug lord Pao and they are, if not undercover, at least inconspicuous. Even with no help from the costume department Teresa Mak is strikingly beautiful. Her heavy-lidded eyes, full lips classically shaped face and thick hair are a very sensual combination.

Raymond Leung is very good as the arrogant and punctilious Inspector Chao who wants Madam Shum to get the goods on Pao but who is unwilling to do more than berate her for not doing so fast enough and threaten her if she fails. He is the boss from hell and we don’t like him any more at the end of the movie, his self-satisfied smirk in place, then at the beginning when he was cowed by a suspect in custody. Jade Leung's small but very telling reactions to his imperious manner are delightful, especially her expression in the shots after her has been railing at her and she turns away with just a slight roll of her eyes or furrow of her forehead. Their target is Lam Pao played to strutting, slimy perfection by Cha Cheun-Yee. From his first moment onscreen I wanted Inspector Danny Lee from “Organized Crime and Triad Bureau” to walk in and pistol whip him. Pao is a criminal who thinks he has all the answers and is immune to the law because everyone is afraid to testify against him.

He does have a long reach and the efforts of Shum and her squad to find an accomplice willing to stand up in court and to keep him safe is the story. They go after Tao Kar Chun, a high ranking lieutenant in Pao’s organization and a man with a weakness: he is helplessly in love with Bonnie. Tao is a very hard man. When Madam Shum tells him that they have the pistol and forged passports he was carrying he says "So what? That just means some years on prison for me," but he collapses when she tells him they will charge Bonnie with possession of the heroin they found. He gives in and moons over her picture while in protective custody. Bonnie is played by Ke Wang, a devastatingly beautiful actress who the camera loves. I watched this movie for two of my favorites, Jade Leung and Teresa Mak but she stands out even in this crowd of screen goddesses.

Even though they have co-opted Tao into giving up his boss the squad protecting him still has no respect for him—he remains a criminal who they are using and not a colleague and both sides know it. At different times both Bonnie and Tao tell the other that once his testimony is finished the cops will be done with him—Tao because he is trying to convince Bonnie to flee to Canada and Bonnie for her own reasons. The cops take their mission seriously—they really want to get Pao and put up with Bonnie but treat Tao with disdain. There is a lovely touch when Teresa Mak sees Chun and Bonnie embracing after they have been reunited in the hideout and grimaces in disgust while turning away. It is a small part of a shot that was worth watching a few times—it showed some of the power that film can have, summing up the complex social relations in the claustrophobic safe house in a second.

The safe house isn’t very safe. Even though the police used a decoy convoy and brought Tao to the abandoned hotel under cover of darkness and anonymity they have been located by the bad guys. It is clear that someone in the group has tipped off Pao’s gunmen. This mystery ties up a subplot that kept part of the squad away from duty. Officer Liang was ambushed and shot. He is in a coma and Officer Ying spends every waking moment at his side, pleading with him to recover and talk to her. While at first the shooting seemed like a random act—although it is only in the movies that a uniformed police officer is shot on a whim—it later becomes clear not only that he was set up but that he may be able to recognize the voice of the shooter, a voice that Ying mistakenly recorded...

This is one of the many coincidences that take the edge off “Danger Zone”. Another is the chance meeting—literally bumping into each other—of Pao and Bonnie in the lobby of police headquarters. The group of officers escorting Pao and the members of Shum’s squad with Bonnie are the only people in the huge space—it looks to be the size of an airplane hanger—and they aren’t able to steer around each other.

Most of the action involves firearms. The gunfights are either very long—people shooting at each other from short distances and missing continually or very short—one shot to the head or chest, a bit of blood and one to the next one. By the time “Danger Zone” was made Jade Leung had impersonated an action actress a dozen times and had gotten pretty good at it. She was the only actress to throw kicks and punches and did so pretty well. As Tao Andrew Lin did a lot of fighting, including a few times when he decided not to use the gun in his hand. His skills weren’t sufficient to make us think it was a wise choice on his part.

Recommended mainly for the beauty and talent of Jade Leung, Teresa Mak and (especially) Ke Wang.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Brian Thibodeau
Date: 04/15/2007
Summary: A marked improvement on BRUSH UP MY SISTERS!

Police madam Jade Leung and her sexy squad of cutie detectives are tasked with protecting unruly mob snitch Andrew Lin and his girlfriend (Ke Wang) from the minions of gang boss Cha Chuen-yee, who have an uncanny knack for finding the safehouse—which is tucked inside a decommissioned luxury hotel—thanks to a handy insider. Meanwhile, fellow cop Jackie Lui lies in a film-length coma after eating several slugs from a mysterious assailant’s gun, but registers flickers of life at the sound of a certain voice . . . that doesn’t belong to squeaky girlfriend Natalie Ng! Dramatically improved sequel to BRUSH UP MY SISTERS maintains the playful, comfortable character dynamics of the first film, but thankfully amps down the ditzy humour and places the players in a far more interesting story with a handful of moderately clever twists. The promotion of BRUSH writer Neo Lam to director also sees a vast improvement in the production value, despite being shot on video like its predecessor. Also, this can be watched without having seen the first installment, which is a plus. Followed by SOME LIKE IT COOL, which was likely filmed before this. 5

Reviewer Score: 5