Lady Super Cop

Reviewed by YTSL

In retrospect, it was probably not fair to have the high expectations I had of this 1993 “Girls with Guns” movie.  After all, none of its three stars -- Carina Lau, Teresa Mo and May Lo/Law -- have woman warrior reputations.  This being said, they are actresses who one expects to encounter in quality productions (This is particularly so with  quadruple Best Actress nominee, Carina Lau).  It also does appear to be the case that the film’s makers -- the grandiosely self-styled Perfect Films Production Company -- were immodestly inviting comparison with top notch works with their giving this production the Chinese title of “Women Should Be Self Sufficient” (N.B. The Chinese title of “Once Upon a Time in China 2” being the equivalent statement about men) and an English title which carries the implication that someone in this movie will be the equivalent of either Jackie Chan or Michelle Yeoh.

Instead, LADY SUPER COP is bereft of anyone who comes close to being as funny as Chan’s character or as self-assured as Yeoh’s in “Police Story III:  Supercop” (and the movie dubbed -- in more ways than one -- by its American distributors as “Supercop 2”).  While Teresa Mo’s character -- who is improbably the cousin and apartment-mate of as well as second-in-command to Carina Lau’s career-minded chief inspector -- was no doubt there to largely be comic relief, she ends up negatively affecting the overall tone of a film by making too many matters more farcical than they ought to be (It also is so that the few sections of the movie when she schizophrenically assumes a serious demeanor end up feeling more absurd than anything else).  Although Carina Lau does look quite good when training a gun at someone and chasing after a suspect, some of the reactions and responses of her character are just not befitting a commanding officer (These include her general toleration of the undisciplined ways of her squad members and her shockingly brutal beating up of a female informant).  Additionally, it almost goes without saying that neither Mo nor Lau come close to Chan and Yeoh -- and for that matter, Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima and Kara Hui -- when it comes to hand-to-hand or any other form of combat (The two women are particularly pathetic in an action sequence which takes place in -- and around -- their apartment).

With regards to others of LADY SUPER COP’s cast who are not unrespectable in terms of their reputation and work in other films:  Waise Lee is majorly underused as Carina Lau’s character’s old flame and fellow police officer; and Eric Tsang only appears midway through this production and is soon disposed off.  All in all, Michael Chan probably comes off best of the men in his role as a friendly garage-owning neighbor of the policewomen.  Still, the individual who really impressed was May Lo/Law (a.k.a. Mrs. Jackie Cheung in real life) as a troubled young informant who shows herself to have a good heart (but a bad fate).  The bulk of this shoddily made film’s too few moments of pathos, tension, tragedy and exultation are supplied by her character and performance.

In his single paragraph review of LADY SUPER COP, Joseph Fierro designated it “a really bad movie” and “disaster”.  Although I disagree with his assessment that “Carina Lau would not inspire respect from even the meekest creature”, it really did not help matters that her character was not shown to be feared by anyone -- even the defenseless woman she was trying to batter into divulging information appeared more disdainful than scared of her -- in a film which ostensibly centers on her single-minded policewoman character and the consequences of her actions.  Neither did an early sequence in which we see Lau slowly buttoning up her blouse and putting on the rest of her uniform before rushing to the parade ground to take part in a ceremony where we see her getting officer’s pips.

While a scene which shows off some -- but by no means all that much really... -- of such an attractive actress’ skin might strike the fancy of some, the fact of the matter is that this was NOT a good portend for the movie’s being the serious actioneer that I had hoped it would be.  I also find that segment’s existence -- along with the overwhelmingly lame comedy -- extremely incongruous in a production that also contains a majorly bloody torture scene (involving dental work which is several levels apart in gore from those in “Marathon Man”).  Perhaps most damningly of all for this type of movie though is my view that this disappointing work’s villain was too one-dimensional to treat with any gravity and its action scenes involved lots of bullets but are nothing to get excited about.

My rating for the film:  3.5