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Martial Angels
Year: 2001
Julian Cheung and Shu Qi
Director: Clarence Fok Yiu-Leung
Producer: Wong Jing
Cast: Shu Qi, Julian Cheung Chi-Lam, Kelly Lin, Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Teresa Mak Ka-Kei, Rosemary Vanderbrouke, Rachel Ngan Wing-Sze, Amanda Strang, Terence Yin, Wong Jing, Ron Smoorenburg
The Skinny: A photogenic cast cannot save this silly action thriler, which wastes some good actors (Shu Qi, Sandra Ng) and some pretty faces (everyone else).
by Kozo:

     Shu Qi stars as Cat, a gorgeous high-tech thief who's teamed with a bevy of equally gorgeous beauties. The film's opening details her attempt at lifting a diamond necklace, which also happened to be her first meeting with gorgeous male thief Lok (Julian Cheung). They escape together and passion begins. However, three years later the two have gone their separate ways, and Cat has abandoned the life. But, Cat discovers that "whenever she tries to get out, they pull her back in." Godfather clichés aside, it seems that the Russian mafia have kidnapped Lok, and want Cat to complete a job for them.
     To achieve this, Cat enlists her former associates, consisting of Kelly Lin, Sandra Ng, Teresa Mak, Rachel Ngan, and models Amanda Strang and Rosemary. Their initial plan is to steal Lok back from the Russians, but circumstances dictate that they must break into a high-tech vault and steal some valuable software. To do so, they need the help of explosives expert Bone (Terence Yin), who happens to be an over-the-top sex maniac. Then stuff blows up, people yell and scream and there's some fighting.
     The pedigree for this action thriller is promising, as it was directed by Clarence Fok (Naked Killer, Cheap Killers) and produced by Wong Jing (every other Hong Kong film ever made). You'
d think the Naked Killer team could be more inspired when handed beautiful babes and outlandish plotlines, but they just don't pull it off here. Martial Angels is massively uneven, mixing stylized action, overdone emotions and screwy comedy. Naked Killer did this too, but it had a decidedly sick sense of humor that was both hilarious and engaging. Martial Angels gives us more gorgeous women, but the humor is tired and bland. The action really isn't up to par either, as it's stylized action crap that have typified many a western film and too many recent Hong Kong ones.
     Even more annoying is the all-over-the-map acting. Shu Qi phones this one in, and of the other females only Sandra Ng shows any sort of life. Terence Yin attempts to cement his position as the new Simon Yam thanks to his incredibly over-the-top performance as the horny Bone. It only works halfway, because he's paired with model Amanda Strang, who's pretty but looks like she's posing for a catalog. Without any consistency among the actors, the film comes off as messy and rushed. And quite frankly, the poor CG effects do nothing to help.
     If Martial Angels has a positive, it would be that the cast is uniformly good looking (except for Wong Jing, who turns up in a cameo). Still, it's been established that having pretty stars cannot save a movie and it certainly doesn't save this one. Martial Angels needs a lot more, and given Clarence Fok's earlier work, you'd think he was up to the challenge. Sadly, he wasn't. (Kozo 2001)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Deltamac Co., Ltd.
 Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen