Way of the Lady Boxers

The only reason to go out of your way to see this very standard and often times dull “girls with guns” film is to watch Sharon Yeung (aka Yeung Pan Pan). Though she was certainly one of the better female action stars, she did not appear in very many modern action films. Most of her best work was in the earlier kung-fu films of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Here she has a number of fighting scenes that display her athletic abilities.
The plot is very routine – the most interesting part of it being it’s very pro-Mainland attitudes. This is certainly reflected in its Chinese title – “Pull Open Iron Curtain”. Sharon is a HK cop chasing after some drug/arm dealers and in the opening she kills one of the top dealers. The brother of this dealer then attempts to kill Sharon throughout the film. She and her partner then follow the case to the Mainland where they have to co-operate with cops, Sibelle Hu and another kung-fu star – Carter Wong. At first Sharon is a lone ranger type, but by the end of the film she is enlightened and sees the folly of her ways. As Sibelle states “it is much better when we work together”. Perhaps some of the funding came from the Mainland for this film or maybe they were just getting prepared for 1997.
Sibelle and Carter Wong
There is a fair amount of action, but most of it is not all that well done with Sharon’s fights being somewhat the exception. Even hers though are a bit inconsistent. In some of them she uses wires and can improbably jump 20-feet, while in other scenes they don’t use wires and she becomes very earthbound. She still has some good moments such as jumping off a building while holding on to a balloon, being dragged along by a truck and grabbing on to the bottom of an elevator for dear life.

Sibelle Hui’s popularity in action films is somewhat mystifying. This popularity stems I believe from her appearances in two Lucky Stars films of the mid-80’s and she has gone on to make a seemingly infinite number of low budget action films. She is certainly attractive and I enjoy her in her non-action moments – but she has no martial arts abilities at all and it is always very obvious that she is being doubled in any scene that involves anything slightly acrobatic. Most times it really doesn’t bother me too much unless she is fighting side by side with someone of Sharon or Moon Lee’s capabilities and then her lack of mobility and her slowness is very evident.