License to Steal


This film has a real slapdash two-week production feel to it but it still manages to have enough action and charm within to be a small but pleasurable treat. I suppose anytime, you throw in the services of Yuen Biao, Ngai Sing, Billy Chow, Joyce Godenzi and Agnes Aurelio under the watchful eye of producer Sammo Hung the chances are that you will have some fun and it delivers that in bite size pieces.
joyce Godenzi and Agnes Aurelio
In this same year 1990 Sammo also produced the classic She Shoots Straight which is perhaps most famous for the match up between Joyce and Agnes. Here again they find themselves at odds with one another and have not just one fight but go at one another four times! None of them perhaps contain the brutal thrills of the one in She Shoots Straight but watching these two very intense individuals go for the jugular is riveting stuff. I always find it amazing to think that before Joyce got into films she had no training in the martial arts or dance. Though she may be a bit stiffer than some of the other female action stars she still performs some terrific action moves but what I really like about Joyce is her no nonsense approach deadly serious with a cool look in her eyes that could blow out a candle at twenty feet.
Yuen Biao, Richard Ng and Ngai Sing
Joyce, Agnes and Alvina Kong have been brought up by their adoptive father Lau Shun to be professional thieves. And they are very good at it but both Joyce and Alvina want to get out of the life. Agnes feels under appreciated and so on their next job she sets Joyce up to take a fall paralyzes Lau Shun and sets up her own gang with Billy Chow.
Lau Shun and Alvina Kong
A few years later Joyce gets out of prison and wants to stay clean, but Joyce drags her back in by trying to frame her for another crime. At the same time, cops Richard Ng and Ngai Sing are investigating Agnes. Ng is his typical goofy character and Sing is all choirboy charm with a hell of a kick behind it. Yuen Biao drops in from time to time literally. In a character that feels like a cousin to that in Dragons Forever, Yuen is a sweet eccentric kung fu artist who often appears at opportune times from nowhere gives a few minutes of incredible acrobatic artistry and vanishes again.
Behind this fairly flimsy plot lies some good action not only the Joyce and Agnes fights but Yuen tussles with Agnes as well has a good set piece against Ngai and a vicious fight with Billy Chow. These are the kind of enjoyable mid budget action films good actors a few laughs - very competent action choreography that Hong Kong use to be able to knock off like clockwork in the early 90s but seem to be nearly nonexistent in the Hong Kong of today. For cameo watchers look for a quick glimpse of Sammo in nearly the very last frame of the film.
Joyce, Billy Chow and Agnes

My rating for this film: 7.0