The Angel Strikes Again

Agent 009 returns to fight evil in this 1968 sequel to “The Angel with the Iron Fists”. Though it brings back many of the same elements including the luscious Lily Ho, it doesn’t deliver the same quota of outlandish fun as it seems satisfied in cautiously following in the footsteps of its predecessor without breaking any new ground. It also oddly brings back two of the main actors from the first film (Lo Wei and Tang Ching), but as entirely different characters which makes you wonder if they squeezed this one in immediately after completing the other and didn't have time to look for a new leading man. It feels rushed and a bit sloppy at times with characters showing up looking fine a minute after they got the tar beaten out of them. Perhaps the main drawback of this film though is that Lily Ho often disappears for long periods of time as the film shifts its focus to the male hero of the movie. Even so, I enjoyed the film enough to wish there had been more additions to the series.
This time out Lily is after the Bomb Gang (with a number of familiar faces such as Wu Ma, Fan Mei Sheng, Lo Wei and Han Yingjie) that is again headed by a power hungry female who disguises herself behind bad teeth, bad skin and sunglasses. Anyone who doesn’t figure out who she is within 30-seconds needs to go to remedial cinema classes. Not too surprisingly the Bomb Gang bombs places. First they demand a payment and if it is not forthcoming, they plant these tiny stick-on bombs in planes, stores and factories and watch it go boom. Lily is on vacation – and our first sighting of her is dancing solo around a swimming pool in a silver bikini – the camera happily veers around and below her – but she is brought back to bring the gang to justice – or kill them. One still has to wonder though why she is vacationing alone – won’t any of the 00’s go on holiday with her.
She makes contact with two agents already on the case – the female singer at a nightclub (Shen Yi) and Agent 309 (played by Lily’s father in "Hong Kong Nocturne" - Cheung Kwong-chiu) – and is soon on the trail. She rescues nightclub patron Tang Ching from being killed by a tarantula placed on his body and he is soon helping her out of gratitude – and probably because she looks so darn good – one doubts if he would have risked his life for say . . . Lydia Shum. Thank goodness because Lily just doesn’t seem as sharp or in control as she was in “Iron Fists” and Tang does most of the heavy lifting and saves her from death a few times. As is customary, though the bad guys have numerous opportunities to kill Lily they always over complicate matters and she gets away. At one point she goes all manish and puts on a suit, tie, horn rimmed glasses and smokes cigars and is actually quite cute and fools no one. Interestingly, there is again absolutely no romantic angle in the film and it makes you wonder whether she should have been Agent 069. There isn’t much in the way of fun toys this time around – Lily basically only uses a tracking device that seconds as a flame thrower and Lo Wei has a cane that shoots darts, becomes a sword and can be utilized as a parachute! On hand also are Ku Feng as a policeman and Tsang Choh Lam as the waiter.
The interior designer had some fun in this film. Everyone’s apartment is absolutely swank with deep red or pink themes dominating, well-stocked bars, retro furniture and wall to wall carpeting. They are all outfitted with the latest in electronically sliding doors, walls, panels and even rising floors – it would make Rock Hudson feel right at home. Even better than these though is the lair of the Bomb Gang – it gets a special place in “Better Homes and Gangsters”. Built inside a mountain that is accessed by a side of the cliff swinging out like a garage door, it has large well decorated interiors, hidden machine guns mounted in the walls, pink flouncy bedrooms, a myriad of trap doors that must be great fun at parties and prison cells in the dungeon.

My rating for this film: 6.0

Note: This Shaw film is only in the VCD format and has a few minor glitches along the way.