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午夜天使 (1990)
Midnight Angel

Reviewed by: CaptainAmerica
Date: 07/26/2002
Summary: A little TOO much of everything!

The "all things to all people" rule in HK films strikes again with mostly postive but at some times muddled results in MIDNIGHT ANGEL aka THE JUSTICE WOMEN. It has plenty of action, pathos, drama, comedy, and even a helping of romance. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't give enough of each of those ingredients until the last half-hour, and before then it's almost an unstable mix. Fortunately, the makers of this movie garnered some heavy-caliber talent to make this film more than worthy of watching!

The film is an ensemble piece...the story opens with the birthday party of an elderly gentlemen (the immortal "Mr. Han" himself, Shek Kin!) thrown by his three adopted granddaughters (Yukari Oshima, May Lo, and Angile Leung). The eldest and middle daughters (Yukari and Angile, respectively) are cops, and Yukari's character is engaged to be married to a fellow officer, Tak (Mark Cheng). Unfortunately, the unexpected hits hard when Cheng and Oshima lead a bust with their commanding officer (Miu Kiu Wai) on a drug deal that gets derailed by a ruthless criminal named Bull (Melvin Wong). Tak seems to be killed in the ensuing chaos, and Yukari is so inconsolable she's transferred to clerical work. Angile and Miu do their best to continue tracking down Bull in spite of unusual orders from on high (in the form of Eddy Ko in an extended cameo) to stop chasing after the villain, but in the meantime the youngest sister (May Lo) -- who feels for Yukari and is angry about a chance encounter with a wifebeating scumbag on the street -- decides to become a vigilante, calling herself Cotton Flower after a little trinket she drops for every innocent she helps out!

As Cotton Flower's adventures progress and the hunt for Bull continues, Yukari gets a surprise visit from Tak, who it turns out (barely) survived his brush with death and was sent on a secret mission to get the goods on Bull! (Needless to say, their flame is still burning.) Then Miu gets the bright -- but incorrect -- idea thanks to circumstances that Yukari is the vigilante! Then the paths of Cotton Flower and Bull cross. With a bang. Ultimately (and without spoiling things too much for you), things explode and all three sisters must take desperate measures to stop Bull once and for all!

As you could probably tell, somebody forgot to keep things simple and as a result there's a few too many threads and twists in the story, and not enough action! But when the action hits, it hits...Yukari Oshima is in this movie, after all, and as good as she's ever been! There are some flashes of brilliance in this takes place when the inevitable occurs and Yukari finds out kid sister is Cotton Flower; May thinks she can take care of herself but she gets her butt handed to her by Yukari in an impromptu fight, and Shek Kin watches thinking they're just having a friendly sparring match as they tear up the living room!

Recommended, especially for Yukari Oshima fans!

NOTE! Yukari made a shot-on-video film that costarred Chin Siu Ho (FIST OF LEGEND) in 1999 called IT TAKES A THIEF which almost carbon-copied the themes of MIDNIGHT ANGEL, but with a few significant differences! Yukari gives one of her best dramatic performances in this film. (Don't worry, she also kicks a LOT of butt!) Of course this film comes recommended, too!

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

His three adopted (grand)daughters end up - at different times -taking up the mantle discarded 30 years prior by "Grandpa" (Shih Kien, who played the evil Mister Han in "Enter the Dragon"), as the "Scarlet Pimpernel"-like masked hero/vigilante, "Cotton Flower," who takes vengeance on those who prey upon the weak. A good premise is ruined by a bad script, which never really gets the tension/suspense/drama going, and mixes fairly uninteresting humor into the standard situations that it comes up with. To succeed by my standards, it would have had to be either darker / grimmer, or more outrageous and energetic, bringing out the comic-book elements more. (Cf. the much more successful "Heroic Trio," which manages to accomplish *both* of those tasks.) Most noteworthy are the performances of the very attractive actress who plays the youngest daughter, "Rabbit" (May Law, who reminds me a bit of Emily Chu), and, of course, Yukari Oshima - playing the eldest daughter, "Ying." The fight scenes are competently produced, but somehow I couldn't really get "engrossed" in this one.

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

A masked female vigilante called "Cotton Flower" fights street crime and saves the righteous with her martial arts skills and lightning reflexes -- but now the police are embarrassed that she's doing a better job at crime-fighting than they are. Mixed in with all this is a brutal gang of drug-runners, lots of brisk action, a kung-fu cat-fight, and several amusing cases of mistaken identity, capped by the alliance of three kung-fu fighting, pistol packing police girls (in masked disguises, of course!), Yukari Oshima leading the way.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7