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地下兵工廠 (1991)
Forbidden Arsenal

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 06/17/2010
Summary: in the line of duty VI

madam yeung (cynthia khan) returns once again, in the sixth film in the series (khan's fourth in the role). this time madam is investigating arms smugglers and is joined by, or rather she has to keep under control, a taiwanese cop, chen (waise lee), and a mainland cop, hua (do siu-chun)...

compared to the two michelle yeoh films and the previous three with cynthia khan, this is a very weak entry in the series. it's okay and would probably have been better without them having made waise lee's character so goofy. still, cynthia doesn't let you down and throws herself into the role with the same gusto that meant losing michelle yeah didn't ruin the series. the action sequences are entertaining, but not as awe-inspiring as predecessors. i'm hoping 'the sea wolves' will be a welcome return to form.


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 07/13/2009
Summary: Good (but dumb) action flick

Hong Kong policewoman Cynthia Khan teams up with Taiwanese (Waise Lee) and Mainland (Do Siu-Chun) officers to take out a group of gunrunners led by Robin Shou.

The story meanders too much in dopey comedy, but there's enough action here to satisfy fans of low-budget Hong Kong cinema.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 09/18/2007

“Forbidden Arsenal”, one of the continuing adventures of Inspector Yeung has our heroine on the trail of arms smugglers from the Mainland. A PRC police officer has infiltrated the smugglers and another officer from Taiwan has penetrated another part of the gang. When both of them are pulled in a bureaucratic turf war erupts. Hui Siu-Hung, playing his usual harried police commander, is outraged that they are operating in his jurisdiction without so much as a “by your leave” and is ready to send them back to their homelands in handcuffs when his commissioner tells him to let them work in Hong Kong.

Do Siu-Chun as Hua Zhi Yong the PRC officer tries to defend his status in the Crown Colony by telling them that the leader of the operation is a Hong Kong resident but goes too far and winds up giving an over the top speech more suited to the mainland which amuses his listeners. Waise Lee, as Chen Ao Qun, the Taiwanese, seems more interested in pornography and in trying to seduce Madam Yeung. Since Cynthia Khan plays her with her usual imperturbable efficiency we know there isn’t much chance of his succeeding.

The movie begins promisingly, if unoriginally, with a quick shootout followed by a fight between Cynthia Khan and a desperado on the top of a speeding truck but not much happens afterwards to hold our interest. The criminals do everything wrong, getting hundreds of dollars from a robbery that they thought would net millions, shipping all their guns back to the Mainland so they have to set up a small arms factory in Hong Kong, fighting among themselves and almost getting caught several times. That they are almost caught is because the Hong Kong police are even less competent than they, always showing up at the wrong place, just a big too late, without enough firepower or otherwise failing in their duty.

There are a few laughs, or at least a few scenes that are supposed to be funny and that don’t make one cringe. The comedy bits have been done before—a long time before: the gaucheries of country bumpkins in the metropolis were described by Virgil—but they can still be funny if done right which many of them are here. Hua is the rube from the sticks with no understanding of the more advanced way that things are done in Hong Kong. When he puts cans of food in the microwave (Inspector Yeung has been assigned to keep an eye on the two interlopers so naturally she brings them home with her) something we can expect to happen, we are distracted by another country vs. city conflict. Hua squats on a couch to eat next to Chen who is seated. They bicker about that—squatting is natural and builds muscles, only a slob would squat when he should sit--until Madam Yeung comes in, asks what is in the microwave. Getting her answer she jumps behind the couch with Chen close behind her. The appliance doesn’t just burn but explodes and is hurled through the air into the living room. Recovering, Inspector Yeung tells Hua that he will be billed for the ruined oven and he laments that it will cost him a year’s salary. The sequence, which consisted of several jokes, one overlapping the next and none of which were original or surprising ,showed how the most shopworn bits can work if they are done flamboyantly and with confidence.

Most of the attempts at humor don’t work—carcasses of dead horses litter the screenplay and the characters continue to beat them for far too long. For example a television shop showing a fight in the Taiwanese Parliament on several screens might have been funny if it were in the background of a scene but not as it was used, simply as a way for Hua and Chen to argue while Inspector Yeung looked on in exasperation.

What “Forbidden Arsenal” does have going for it is Cynthia Khan. She was active, fit and physically committed to her role. As a special treat her fans (of which I am one) are treated to a scene of her partially disrobing—she just removes a bulky sweatshirt to reveal a very modest chemise beneath but it is a still delightful scene. The costume designers did a good job, outfitting her in a succession of very tight fitting slacks or very short skirts with form following function—she looked great and wasn’t hampered in delivering her signature kicks. One sequence was almost surreal. In it Yeung encountered the leader of the smugglers on the campus of Hong Kong University and gave chase. She was wearing a skirt and sweater and a very long, bright red coat which billowed behind her as she ran, jumped and almost flew. It would make sense, of course, for her to ditch the coat—it certainly would slow her down and probably get in the way if she did catch the guy. But she didn’t and it was so brilliantly red and flowed behind her so gracefully that she could have been a new super heroine. At one point during the sequence the bad guy rolled trash barrels at her—the campus had all the requisite props—and she jumped over three of them, on after the other, with a hurdling form like Jackie Joyner-Kersey, all of it emphasized by that cape-like coat.

Recommended only for Cynthia Khan fans

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

This cousin to the "In the Line of Duty" series is less spectacular than many of those films, but it has some good moments - especially at the end. Cynthia Khan is the HK cop who teams up with a womanizing Taiwanese cop (Waise Lee) and a cop from Mainland China, in an effort to bring down an international gun-smuggling ring.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Good action. Cynthia Khan works with two Interpol guys to defeatgun smugglers. Not the same plot as In the Line of Duty III, even though the synopsis is pretty similar...

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

I wasn't too impressed by this one. Cynthia Khan plays an HK cop assigned to bust a gun-smuggling ring. She is forced to cooperate with a macho Taiwanese cop and a sweet but somewhat dense cop from the Mainland. The plot involves the three of them finding a secret arsenal, where guns with armour-piercing bullets are hidden. Some of the fights and stunts are nice, but not exciting. The gun battles are somewhat lifeless, the finale pleasant. The highpoint is the "hidden" arsenal itself: It consists of a bunch of trucks and containers put together in the middle of a field. It's about as subtle as a bright red circus tent.


[Reviewed by Dan Liatowitsch]