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January15th, 2001 Issue #43

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

The Godfather's Daughter Mafia Blues
(1991; Chun Sing Film Co.): 5/10

Cover art courtesy Mei Ah.

Lit fo ching sau

Li huo qing chou

Fiery Revenge

Yukari Oshima and Mark Cheng Ho-nam. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

For "Girls With Guns" devotees hoping to upgrade their collections, the DVD release slate thus far must be a real disappointment, as virtually nothing from this sub-genre has been issued. While not technically a GWG title, THE GODFATHER'S DAUGHTER MAFIA BLUES still offers a good showcase for the martial talents of Japanese dynamo Yukari Oshima, who has been a favorite among fans since her memorable turn as the villainess of ANGEL (1987).

Benny Lai Wai (left) and Mark Cheng (right). Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Fish farm workers Wai (Mark Cheng Ho-nam) and Nan (Benny Lai Wai) inadvertently insult some local gangsters, leading to a string of events that get them deeper and deeper in trouble. They are rescued by triad boss Li Hwa-yu (Alex Man Chi-leung) who, impressed with their fighting abilities, decides to recruit them into his gang. When Li's Japanese partner dies, the latter's aggressive son, Kuyama (Ken Lo Wai-kwong), moves to take over Li's nightclub business. Now a minority shareholder, Li decides to buy Kuyama out but his longtime associate, Tung (Dick Wei), withdraws all of his cash and leaves Li high and dry. Luckily, Wai and Li's flighty daughter (Oshima) are able to nab Tung before he can flee to China. However, regaining control of his entertainment business has all but bankrupted Li, forcing him to take desperate measures that lead to disaster.

Fung Hark-on (left) and Ken Lo Wai-kwong (right). Image courtesy Mei Ah.

A routinely plotted effort with a slow opening half, THE GODFATHER'S DAUGHTER MAFIA BLUES (say that title ten times fast) still boasts some invigorating action, including an incredible stunt (presented in a single unbroken take) where a motorcyclist crashes into the back of a car, sails over top of the vehicle, and hits the concrete, with no protection other than some padding under his jacket. Oshima has two terrific fight sequences, taking on Lo and his goons in a health club and, later, a one-on-one with a butcher knife wielding assailant. The exciting final showdown (in which she is joined by future husband Cheng) also features some nicely executed wirework. Alex Man gives a restrained and effective performance as the aging ganglord but the amount of grey in his hair changes from scene to scene (as his woes increase, his hair actually gets darker!). Fung Hark-on (who also directed and served as action choreographer), Tai Po, Wong Yue, Yeung Fan, Bryan Leung Kar-yan, and Mark King also appear.

Alex Man Chi-leung. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

DVD Specs:

Mei Ah #DVD-313
Dolby Digital (5.1 and 2.1)
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
9 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Stills
Letterboxed (1.75:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Category IIB (for brutal violence)
91 Minutes

DVD menu courtesy Mei Ah.

The transfer is a bit on the dark side but the source materials are reasonably clean and the image is usually sharp. Some Digital Video Noise Reduction and edge enhancement flaws are in evidence but this is a decent presentation overall and no doubt represents an improvement over the old cropped Ocean Shores laserdisc. The 5.1 options sport an annoying echo but the 2.1 version is a little more satisfying; the Cantonese tracks sound better (both languages are post-synched). Aside from the usual Data Bank feature, there are no extras and, with this being a Mei Ah release, no time functions.

Dick Wei. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Copyright © John Charles 2000, 2001. All Rights Reserved.

Hong Kong Digital is presented in association with Hong Kong Entertainment News In Review