Angel Terminators


Year of release: 1992

Genre: girls with guns

Director: Wai Lit

Action director: Chen Shao-Lung

Producer: George Lai

Writer: Wai Lit

Editor: Choi Kwok-Keung

Cinematography: Yueng Hok-Leung

Music: ?

Stars: Sharon Yeung, Kara Hui, Kenneth Tsang, Carrie Ng, Michiko Nishiwaki, Dick Wei, Mark Houghton, Shum Wai

Not rated; contains IIB-level language and violence

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Like many "girls with guns" releases, Angel Terminators barely made a whimper at the box office, and has since faded into obscurity, being overshadowed by releases like Yes Madam that featured more popular stars like Michelle Yeoh. But even though this movie's plot is as deep as a deflated kiddie pool and the film-makers obviously had no budget to work with, they did produce results where it counts: delivering nearly non-stop action.

The movie barely waits until after the credits to get things going. We see a crime boss (Kenneth Tsang) getting one last serenade from his sweetie (Carrie Ng) before he heads into exile in Thailand to lay low from the heat generated by a pair of tough female cops, Kara Hui and Sharon Yeung. Seven years later, Kenneth (along with a multi-national group of flunkies that includes Dick Wei, Michiko Nishiwaki, and Mark Houghton) returns to Hong Kong to reclaim his drug empire, but Sharon and Kara are determined to catch him this time.

There are a few other plot points, such as Carrie's new relationship with Sharon and Kara's commander, and a segment where Sharon must try to wean herself off of heroin. But these elements, as well as the plot as a whole, are really only bridges to get to the next action scene. While I can appreciate a good story and acting as much as the next person, it was actually really refreshing watching an action movie that didn't try to make itself more important (in the artsy-fartsy "cinematic" sense) than it really needed to be by adding in well-worn cliches like diverging timelines or double crosses.

Neither director Wai Lit or his action co-ordinator, Chen Shao-Lung (aka Jacky Chen), worked on many productions that were outside the B-realm, and that pedigree is shown in the technical aspects of the movie. The mise-en-scene of the exposition scenes is very stagey, there's not much (if any) flair in the camerawork and editing, and the soundtrack has been outright stolen from American films. In a movie that had lesser action scenes, these flaws would have been the final nails in the coffin. However, after looking at Angel Terminators as a whole, they're more just fairly minor roadblocks on the road to checking out some of the best femme fatale-oriented action produced in Hong Kong during this period.