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絕色神偷 (2001)
Martial Angels

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Certainly disappointing, but not so bad you should cross it off your list altogether if you like the Girls with Guns genre. There's a few good parts.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 06/18/2010
Summary: incidentally cat meets pretty octopus who is one of the 7-cat-burglars 7-cats.

seven girls, raised in an orphanage, become 7-cats; a team of crack cat-burgling criminal types. although, having partially disbanded, cat (shu qi) calls upon the rest of the group to help her undertake a job, stealing a piece of software to exchange for the life of her kidnapped ex-boyfriend, lok (julian cheung)...

now, i quite like crappy films. this, however, is just a little too crappy. if it had been made in 1991, instead of 2001, then it may have been a classic; as it isn't, it has nasty stylisation and crappy action sequences, with a couple of questionable special effects thrown in.

the positives are shu qi who is, of course, lovely. then there's sandra ng, who i always like; especially here, as she's playing opposite (mainly trying to seduce) an emotionally stunted wong jing, who i seem to enjoy a lot more in front of the camera, than behind it. i suppose kelly lin, teresa mak, rachel ngan, rosemary vandenbroucke and amanda strang could also be listed as providing some kind of positive contribution to the film as well...

and, then there's terrence lin, who indulges in a bit of light hearted sexual assault...

pretty poor.

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 07/24/2007
Summary: A Waste

Reasons to watch this movie for free (e.g. Netflix or a loaned DVD): Beautiful, sexy women whose only purpose in life is to please your eyes, and who can now die fulfilled.

Reasons to watch this movie if you have to pay: There are none.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 05/21/2007

Based on who is defining the issues, “Martial Angels” was inspired by, stolen from or a parodisic adaptation of a movie which was based on an American network television series that gave us the term “jiggle TV”. It is the perfect vehicle for the writing, directing and acting talents of Wong Jing.

While most of the movie is dull enough to cure insomnia there are two wonderful scenes. The first if very brief—Teresa Mak, Rachel Ngan, Sandra Ng, Amanda Strang and Rosemary Vandenbroucke pop out of a car and walk toward Shu Qi and Kelly Lin. They are five across, hair artfully flying, looking like fashion models stomping down a runway. The style echoes scores of recent movies. In some, such as Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore in “Charlie’s Angels” or Shannon Elizabeth, Ali Larter and Eliza Dusku in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”, the object is to satirize and comment upon such scenes in other movies but there is nothing in them as specific as in “Martial Angels” when Shu Qi says “Don’t they think they are cool”. She is pointing out how cool/desirable/ appropriate to the male gaze that the actresses are and distancing “Martial Angels” from movies with the same type of scene, but at same time, by referencing them, reminding us that this is a movie that is built almost solely around men looking at women.

The other scene worth seeing is, thankfully, longer and less dependent on post-Postmodernism to be funny. Sandra Ng and Wong Jing are in a parked car—just the set up sounds promising. Wong Jing plays a software security expert but isn’t concerned with hackers or other electronic thieves. His security set-up involves fingerprint recognition, cornea analysis, a vault door that weighs as much as the Titanic and a special lever that if released shuts the door on those in the vault. In order to breach this Rube-Goldberesque set of safeguards the Shu Qi’s gang has to get Wong Jing’s character’s fingerprints and the only way they can figure out to do that is to wire up Sandra Ng’s panties and bra with sensors that will transmit images of his prints once he begins to paw her.

But Wong has a problem—and Sandra has a bigger problem. Wong is still in mourning for his dead wife and even though Sandra looks just like her—or perhaps because she resembles her so closely—he is unable to maintain any sexual desire toward her. This is doubly infuriating for Sandra Ng, of course. She isn’t attractive enough for a nerdy loser like Wong to want to grab her—she looks great in this picture—and she is working against a deadline to get his prints. It doesn’t help that the rest of the gang are able to watch and listen to her and Wong. Sandra goes from flirtatious to provocative to demanding, none of which work. It is a comic tour de force by one of the premiere comic actresses of our time. Wong was smart enough to act as the straight man, feeding her lines and giving her reasons to get more and more angry with him.

The premise of the movie is paper thin—seven girls were raised in an orphanage. As fate would have it they grew up to be brilliant, attractive, athletic and very crooked. A life of crime beckoned and didn’t have to beckon twice. They have all the high tech gadgets that criminals need these days—sunglasses that work as a camera, an online database that has the value of all the important jewelry in Hong Kong, microphones that pick up conversations from around corners and filter out all the background noise—but their main weapon is their undeniable beauty which is on display for just about every minute of the film. The budget for Shu Qi’s lip gloss must have been astronomical. Two of the gang were played by MTAs—model turned actress--Amanda Strang and Rosemary Vandenbroucke, both of whom look enchanting but neither of whom can really act. Julian Cheung was well cast as a plot point and Terrence Yin did a good job of impersonating a really disgusting but shallow individual. Ron Smoorenburg’s abilities were not challenged in his role as a gwielo thug with martial arts training.

One of the many annoying aspects of “Martial Angels” is that while it satirizes high tech caper movies its writing is so sloppy that it undermines its message. Lampooning movie conventions can be very funny and Wong Jing is a master of parody and pastiche—“High Risk” is an example of his ability is sarcastic ridicule—but to make fun of them the filmmaker has to show what he is disparaging. One example is gaining access to the vault with the super secret software—essentially they open the door and walk in.

By no means a bad movie but certainly not on the same level as the “girls with guns” genre of the 1990s

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 02/19/2006
Summary: kinetic imagery & absurd scenario

I picked up my VCD of Clarence Ford's Martial Angels on the day it arrived at the shop I frequent in New York City's Chinatown, just a few doors down from the now shuttered Music Palace Theater. This was a film I eagerly awaited since I'd seen the production notes in the press. An internationally acclaimed director, one of my personal favorites, was working with some of the most beautiful and funniest women in the world to make a film for Wong Jing. I thoroughly enjoyed the film in every aspect. I thought the script was much more than a clever spoof of the Hollywood film Charlie's Angels. It was all very "Hong Kong" with an absurd scenario that worked well with the director's kinetic imagery.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: AkiraRus
Date: 10/28/2004
Summary: Completely awful

And I thought I saw it all... How did they convinced Sandra Ng to appear in this mess, is above any understanding. Amanda Strang is awful, Kelly Lam is awful, Rachel Ngan is awful and Teresa Mak just disappears from this crap-I-can't-even-call-the-movie in a halftime or so. 3/10

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/14/2002
Summary: Pretty bad

Well, looking at the other reveiws for this movie, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels let down by this. To be honest, I had already put it down in my mind, because I knew Shu Qi was in it, and shes been getting worse and worse in the last year or so. The story is a bit confusing some of the time, and even when it is understandable, it’s pretty boring and nothing much to it. Athough saying that, some of it is very good, action that is. Julian Cheung plays quite well, as does Kelly Lin, but Shu Qi….hmmm, wasn’t impressed. It’s a shame, because Clarence Ford has been behind some pretty impressive films in the past (Iceman Cometh, Naked Killer, to name a few), but this was a big let down.

Rating: 2.5/5

(This rating is based on the years release and genre, I’m not comparing it to older or newer films.)

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: OC_Gwailo
Date: 09/11/2001
Summary: Clarence Ford/Fok/Fork artistically bankrupt?

"Martial Angels" is a shameless ripoff of "Charlie's Angels" with obvious bits of "Mission: Impossible 2" and "The Matrix" thrown in for good measure. Which is not to say that it doesn't have its charms. Indeed, how can you go wrong with such lookers as Kelly Lin, Shu Qi, Rosemary Vandenbroucke, and Rachel Ngan, to name a few? Even Sandra Ng looks pretty good as a girl, and pulls off some funny lines. But "go wrong" is exactly what director Clarence Ford does. The "action" scenes in this flick are so bad, and the talking scenes between the women so good, that Ford should have trashed the action script and just made an HK version of "Steel Magnolias." Call it "Titanium Lotuses" and he's in business.

I've come to expect a certain amount of cheese from Ford, but "MA" is the cheesiest. The continuity flaws are numerous and obvious, and the "technology" so primitive and illogical, that you might wonder just how stupid Ford thinks his audience is (yeah, like we can't tell that underwater safe door is a hubcap!). I expected much more from the guy who gave the world "Naked Killer."

If you're a die-hard fan of any of the cast or crew, it's worth a look; but lower your expectations first.

Reviewed by: Trigger
Date: 07/22/2001
Summary: Yeah - I thought it sucked too

Oh geez... where do I start?

I got the DeltaMac disc of this film. DeltaMac recently released Bichunmoo and China Strike Force as well - both outstanding DVDs. This is one from their econo-line. The transfer is teriffic and the sound is decent as well. The subtitles are crappy - they are in synch, but they are incomplete and incorrect at times (calling someone Spider instead of Black Widow isn't the same thing especially when the person is called Black Widow for a reason). They are quite readable though (removable). It comes in an opaque/clear case the same size as an amaray and the artwork is one sided (waste of an opportunity). No insert either. Nothing spectacular, but still a totally acceptable disc for a film.

The film itself is another story. I got this basically for the only reason to see the film - seven hot chicks in tight clothes with guns. I know I know... think what you want. Shu Qi is irresistable to me. This is Charlie's Angles meets Mission Impossible 2 with no budget. The script is pretty much doo doo and the action is subpar. Still... I didn't hate it... why? Because those girls are fun to watch. Ok - it's a worthless movie. And the hotness of these girls doesn't carry the film at all... there are a few redeeming qualities about the film though. If you can tolerate the retarded story and can manage to care what's going on, there are a few interesting twists... nothing you can't see coming from half a mile away though.

Should you see this? Well... I don't know. It's a bad movie in general, but I didn't think it was any worse than Heroic Trio (except this film had nothing on Heroic Trio as far as fight scenes go) and most everyone else seemed to like Heroic Trio. Will you like this if you liked Heroic Trio? I don't know... Unlikely. Some of the acting is good (considering what they had to work with), but most of it is shit...

Just don't expect a whole lot from this film is all I'm trying to say.

Seen on Deltamac DVD.


Movie - 3.5/10

Disc - 4/10

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: rfong
Date: 05/30/2001
Summary: shit film nice ladies though!!!!

i thought this film was a load of shit, there was hardly a plot for christ sake. shu ki cant even act and i cant even stand her shitty little voice. the othere ladies in the film tho are inexperienced apart from sandra, which i thought gave a creditable performance but otherwise not recommended to buy unless you want to see some vey fine models trying to act.

Reviewed by: AgntFenris
Date: 05/30/2001
Summary: Rosemary Vandenbroucke is hot...

And that's about it. Some mediocre action performed very poorly. Messly plot, with sloppy editing make for some ugly action shots. But damn these women are hot. But that's about it.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/27/2001
Summary: Comprehensively dreadful

MARTIAL ANGELS - Just watched it yesterday... probably the most ineptly made film since THE BLACKSHEEP AFFAIR. Possibly even worse. But... enjoyable :-) The helicopter scene has to be cringed at to be believed!

So yes, a very very bad film made enjoyable by low expectations and extremely attractive women.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 04/02/2001
Summary: Worst major release in recent memory...

A movie this bad is hard to review in a semi-formal essay format. Instead, here is a list of things that suck about this movie.

1) The plot is utter nonsense, and set a new record by losing my interest before the credits even came up. Something about Hsu Chi and Julian Cheung being in love, breaking up, and him later being held hostage by the Russian Mafia to get Hsu to steal some techy thing or another. I believe the gizmo in question is referred to once and then virtually forgotten.

2) The cast is a virtual talent-vacuum. The okay but unexciting Julian Cheung is relegated to a glorified cameo; Sandra Ng makes a valiant effort to bring the movie up a notch but doesn't have enough screen time to make much impact. Terrance Yin's perverted demolitions expert is an interesting change of pace for him, but wears thin quickly. The rest of the cast consists of talentless models with few lines and paper-thin characters. Worst of all, Hsu Chi is the real lead. She's lousy.

3) The special effects are very poor. The film also makes liberal use- even on the post- of my least favorite visual motif in some time: the "binary code=high tech" look. OH THE HUMANITY.

4) The action is rare and generally lousy. There is some decent stuff in the first shootout, but after that it's mostly undercranked and quickly-edited generic punch-up stuff. Dull, dull, dull.

So basically, every major component- plot, action, cast, characteriztion- is an utter failure. That just about covers it. This movie is just bad, period.

Reviewed by: Paul Fox
Date: 02/16/2001
Summary: Martial Angels Less Than Heavenly

After a rather bleak holiday season at the Hong Kong box office, the new films lined up for Valentine's Day release seemed somewhat promising. Sad to say that Martial Angels failed to live up to that expectation.

Obvious from the title of the film, was the fact that the producers were trying to cash in on the "Charlie's Angels" ticket. But any similarities end with the title. Indeed the production value of Martial Angels comes no where near the scale of last years American film. (Not to say that "Charlie's Angels" was itself an outstanding film by any means) The Hong Kong film opens with a rather dull jewel heist which introduces some of the cast including Shu Qi and Julian Cheung. The whole hook of the story is based upon the relationship between these two, but the actors do not have any real chemistry together. Perhaps a different lead in either role may have proved to be more suitable, but it is unlikely that it would have made a huge difference given the films many faults.

Later in the story the other Angels are introduced. Sadly none of them, save for Sandra Ng, are given the adequate screen time or personalities needed to make them more than the standard 2 dimensional "Girls with Guns" archetype. Even Sandra Ng for all her talent is not able to bring this script out of purgatory. Terence Yin-Chi Wai's small role as Bone starts off as amusing but soon becomes simply offensive, particularly when the script tries to make the character seem noble.

Much of the fault can be traced to the script. This screenplay has none of the excitement of Sharon Hui's other works like "The Lovers" (1994) or "Once Upon a Time in China and America" (1997). Much of the fault also lies in the action direction. The fight scenes are nothing more than a series of close-ups and quick edits. The type of fight scenes that one might call "Choppy Sloppy". The car chases are sped-up to blatantly obvious speeds and the gunfights are rather dull. Even the opening title sequence (a sort of CG silhouette animation) seems as if it was created on someone's notebook computer.

Had production values been higher (like it's western counterpart), this film might have fared better, but as it is now it will certainly take some divine intervention to save these angels.

Overall review rating : 1.5

Review by Paul Fox

Location:  UA Shatin
Time: Thursday 15  February   6:15pm

Reviewer Score: 2