A Book of Heroes
I challenge anyone to find a movie in which more
people get knocked through windows, walls or doors. The stuntmen
more than earn their pay in this Taiwanese action/comedy as they are used
continuously as punching bags by the three femme fatales. This film
is a delightful little gem that is full of nonsensical comedy and some
very enjoyable acrobatic martial arts action. The three women are all terrific,
but the only one that I am familiar with is Yukari Oshima. This film was
made soon after her memorable part in Millionaires Express, but before
her breakthrough film, Angel. Though she has a much smaller part than the
other two women, her fights are astonishingly acrobatic. She reminded me
of a female version of Yuen Biao. The other two women are excellent as
well – though perhaps they had some doubling assistance.
The film is about some stolen gold that everyone
is trying to get their hands on. A cop is trying to prove his worth
by tracking it down and he has the very able help of his girlfriend. Another
pair in on the chase are two card sharks who come into possession of the
map showing where the gold is hidden. In an early scene they are caught
cheating, but the woman takes on all comers and cleans out the room without
mussing up her makeup – breaking numerous windows, doors etc in the
process. It turns out that she also has a pretty good iron shot, but keeps
forgetting to shout out "fore"!
Finally the Japanese villain (Shoji Kurata) and
his right hand man are also doing everything they can to locate the gold.
As insurance, Kurata hires Yukari to help him out, but not before
he tests her. He points out five members of another gang and says if she
can kill them with her bare hands the job is hers. As Yukari kills one
after the other, her salary continues to go up. It’s a splendid scene for
In the end there is the obligatory scene when
all these forces come together for one last fight. Along with all this
action, there has been a large dose of totally silly but good-natured humor.
This film is in no way to be taken seriously. It is just a fun unpretentious
romp and an opportunity to see Yukari at the peak of her physical abilities.