In the Line of Duty III
If ever anyone says that they don’t enjoy watching
the “girls with guns” films because they lack the intensity of the male
action films, ask them to check out this film. It is intense, brutal and
ferocious. I sat there in gleeful disbelief as Michiko Nishawaki cold bloodily
kills anyone in her way and as Cynthia Khan relentlessly chases after the
bad guys/girls. What made this film an instant classic in 1988 was not
only the great action scenes, but also the perverse yet passionate love
story between Michiko and her partner (Stuart Ong), the bitter hatred that
grows between Michiko and Cynthia leading to the eventual fight to the
death and the theme of revenge that runs through this film.
Michiko looking so sleek and stylish in her sunglasses
and weaponry along with Ong burst into a flashy jewelry show in Japan and
gun down everyone they can and haul off a bag full of valuables. In the
process they kill a young cop and his partner follows them to HK after
promising the dead man’s wife that he will honor his memory. Inspector
Paul Chun Pui assigns his niece Cynthia Khan (Inspector Yeung) to host
Hiroshi around town because he thinks this will keep her out of harm’s
This film was Cynthia’s breakthrough film. After
giving up on a dance career, she made a few small films in Taiwan (from
where she comes) and then was discovered by D&B who were looking for
a femme fatale to replace the retiring Michelle Yeoh. Along with Moon Lee
and Yukari Oshima, she helped push the “girls with guns” genre into a great
deal of popularity over the next number of years.
At any rate, being with Hiroshi proves to be far
from a safe place to be – he is intent on finding the pair of killers (Red
Army terrorists actually) which is fine with Cynthia who is chaffing under
the protective wing of her uncle – and the two of them get into a number
of fights with Michiko and Ong. Everyone one of the fights outdoes the
one before and the intensity level just keeps rising. The final fight with
Cynthia taking on both Michiko and her friend Dick Wei is simply astonishing
in the apparent level of hatred that has grown between these adversaries
and the desire they have to hurt one another.
As good as Cynthia looks in this film – she shows
great athletic ability – Michiko simply steals the show whenever she is
on screen. Her stunning beauty is enhanced with a performance that is sensual,
smoldering, passionate, and vulnerable – but always deadly. In her first
scene she comes up to a security guard and lustfully kisses him as she
repeatedly stabs him to death. This personifies her character in the film.
This is “girls with guns” at its best - great
action, beautiful tough women and not an inch of compromise.
My rating for this film: 8.5
The transfer is spectacular. During the jewelry
show the stones simply sparkled.
Subtitles in English, Traditional Chinese,
Trailers for this film, In the Line of Duty
IV and V and Yes Madam
Information on Cynthia Khan
It is very heartening to see this film in such
good shape – and as a bonus this version has the nude scene of Michiko
which many of the video versions had deleted!