In the Line of Duty 5 - Middle Man


If this fifth film in the series had a tag line, it should have been “Madame Yeung is back and this time it’s personal!” Instead of being the “Middle Man” though, this film is more like the forgotten man. It doesn’t have nearly the reputation of the previous films in the series (to some degree this is warranted) – and it has always been difficult to find out very much about it. In fact, in the Stanford Database it is mis-identified as In the Line of Duty 2 produced in 1987.
The first four films in the series are all bona fide “Girls with Guns” classics. Michelle Yeoh starred in the first two and then Cynthia Khan (her name being derived from Cynthia Rothrock and the then Michelle Khan) starred in the following two. I always get the impression though that D&B – the producers – never really had the confidence in Cynthia that they did with Michelle and so introduce many other characters and other action stars (Donnie Yen, Michiko Nishiwaki) to often shift the focus away from her. This trend goes even further in this film and too much of the running time is taken with characters other than Inspector Yang.  In this instance though the other actors/characters don’t match up in skills or charisma to those in the earlier films. There is also a lower budget feel to this film and less intensity than in the previous ones – but even taking that into account this film still manages to be quite entertaining and have more action than a Sunday full of NFL football. Some of it is well done, some of it is fairly banal – but this film has about as close to non-stop action as a film can have.
From the opening scene when Cynthia delivers an awesome kick to the windshield of a moving car and then hangs on to a moving truck, this film is on the go. It revolves around a mysterious group – headed by the General – that is stealing secrets from the USA. The CIA is after them (lots of fighting Gweilos in this film) and accuses Cynthia’s cousin – David Ng – of being involved. He is soon on the run with various bad guys, the cops and the CIA after him. He turns to Cynthia for help. She is not very pleased with everyone messing around with her relative and is forced to go outside the police force to help him track down the real perpetrators – all the way to Korea.
The film has a few highlights among all the action – the opening scene, Cynthia matching up against Billy Chow a couple of times and the final brutal head through glass/sword fight with a blonde female (who I don’t know).  Though from time to time it is apparent that Cynthia is using a stunt person – it is also clear that she is doing much of this on her own and she looks very good doing it.


My rating for this film: 7.0



Here as best I know it are the In the Line of Duty films: There is always a bit of confusion about which films belong in this series. The fact that Yes Madam and Royal Warriors are not in order of chronology is due to the fact that the In the Line of Duty title was given to them after the fact - at the time of In the Line of Duty III. Queens High has also often been included in the series, but this was just a marketing ploy and the film has nothing to do with the others besides starring Cynthia Khan.

Yes Madam - 1985 - Michelle Yeoh (In the Line of Duty II)
Royal Warriors - 1986 - Michelle Yeoh (In the Line of Duty I)
In the Line of Duty III - Force of the Dragon - 1988 - Cynthia Khan
In the Line of Duty IV - Witness - 1989 - Cynthia Khan
In the Line of Duty V - Middle Man - 1990 - Cynthia Khan
In the Line of Duty VI - Forbidden Arsenal - 1991 - Cynthia Khan
In the Line of Duty VII - Sea Wolves - 1991 - Cynthia Khan



DVD Information

Distributor - Universe

The transfer is very good for the most part – a bit of wear in some early scenes, minor pixilation in the night scenes.

Letterboxed

Sound is very distinct – almost too much so as every punch, shot and explosion is quite emphatic.

8 Chapters

Trailer for this film + ITLOD III

Written information on Cynthia Khan

English subs are very readable

Very happy with this overall – makes me want to re-watch ITLOD III & IV on DVD – it will be like seeing those films for the first time.