“Cheetah on Fire” (1992)

(Cheung Yau Production Co., Dir. Thomas Yip Shing-hong)

Sharla Cheung Man and Donnie Yen have central roles as CIA operatives seeking to recover a stolen missile guidance chip in this simple yet action filled film.  They are betrayed by their partner “Ann” (Nadeki) to the criminal gang headed by “Long Hair” (Gordon Lau) who is aided by the character of Ken Lo.  Shing Fui-on and Eddie Ko have supporting roles as minor criminals who attempt to sell the chip to Long Hair’s gang, while Carrie Ng represents the HK police.

After violent urban combat has thinned out the cast, the action shifts to a remote area of Thailand where Long Hair’s gang joins forces with those of a warlord (Michael Woods).  The Thai army mounts a bloody final assault on their village stronghold.

The action is well paced and well choreographed, accompanied by a good score.  Nadeki appears with the trademark flowing hair of her early roles, as well as the distinctive costuming that was always a defining feature of her screen persona.  Here she wears a vinyl jacket and shorts, and later military camouflage fatigues.

Perhaps partly to deflect attention from her character as the traitor, Nadeki’s role as villain is relatively secondary, although her final fight scene is conducted with customary energy and determination.  The motives of her cold, reserved character remain opaque, obscured by superficial congeniality that proves wholly deceptive.

Mark Houghton and John Salvitti have cameo parts on opposite sides of the law.  The rest of the main cast, including Donnie Yen, Sharla Cheung Man and Carrie Ng are excellent, throughout.

A 2, B 4, C 2.5, D 4, E 4, F 3.5  (20)  Highly recommended

“Lady Killer” (1992)

The plotting of this Taiwanese crime drama strains credulity.  After a young girl, “Show-show” witnesses the police shooting her parents (featuring a cameo by Lin Wei as her father), she is secretly adopted by the officer responsible.  Completely unaware that he has raised her, she grows up hating the police and eventually becomes involved in a plot to hijack a cargo shipment.  When most of her partners are killed by a gang headed by “De Phong” – played by Dick Wei in a supporting role – she is unexpectedly confronted with the reality that both her adoptive father “Charles” and sister “Wang Cheng-may” (Nadeki) are police officers.

Nadeki’s character Miss Wang lives with “Shuang-shuang” (To Kwai-fa) and has several brief but energetically athletic martial arts sequences.  She also fights Dick Wei in the finale.  Once again, Nadeki appears in a leather jacket, and also verbally spars with To Kwai-fa over physical appearance and relationships.
In partial compensation for the plot, the film’s martial arts are better choreographed than in many low budget Taiwanese productions, and the principal players are easy on the eye.

A 2, B 2.5, C 2, D 2, E 2.5, F 2  (13)  Fight scenes