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Issue #136a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES December 2nd, 2002

In The Line Of Duty
(1989; D & B Films Co.)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Wong ga si je ji IV jik gik jing yan
Mandarin: Huang jia shi jie zhi IV zhi ji zheng ren
English: Royal Hong Kong Policewoman IV: Attacking the Witness Head-On

Alternate English Title: In The Line Of Duty IV

Alternate English Title: The Witness

One of the best entries in this loosely connected series, Yuen Woo-ping's IN THE LINE OF DUTY IV (the title this picture is best known under) serves up a remarkable amount of action complimented by some truly remarkable stuntwork. Honest Seattle dock worker Luk Wan-ting (Sunny Yuen Yat-chor) accidentally gets himself involved in America's drug wars, when he stumbles into a shootout and is erroneously blamed for the death of a DEA operative. He flees to HK, with Inspector Yeung (Cynthia Khan/Yang Li-ching) and officers Donny (Donnie Yen Chi-tan) and Michael (Michael Wong Man-tak) in pursuit. They apprehend Luk and plan to extradite him to America but he is shot en route and must be hospitalized. While the criminals make further attempts on his life, Madam Yeung and Donny become increasingly suspicious of Michael, whose actions suggest that he is undermining their efforts. This is confirmed when Michael admits to being a C.I.A. agent. He is part of an unauthorized operation to raise money by selling drugs, with the cash going to anti-government rebels in an unnamed Latin American country.

Essentially one long, exciting chase, this entry features some spectacular fights, with Yen at his limber best throughout. Highlights include Yang battling an opponent on top of a speeding ambulance and Yen engaging big Michael Woods in an extended shovel and sledge hammer battle on motorcycles. The plot provides an adequate framework for the skirmishes and that is all that's really required in this genre. Richard Yuen's score is derivative of the music John Carpenter created for his sci-fi actioner, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. Liu Kai-chi, Yuen Shun-yee, John Salvitti, Cho Wing (in a dual role), and Eddie Maher co-star.

Cover art courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Cynthia Khan and Liu Kai-chi. Image courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Donnie Yen. Image courtesy Hong Kong Legends.
Hong Kong Legends/Medusa #MDV 569 (UK Label)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Cantonese and English Language Tracks (both post-synched)

Optional English Subtitles

30 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With (Tiny) Stills

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (1.78:1)

Coded for Region 2 Only

Macrovision Encoded

PAL Format

91 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Contains moderate violence

DVD menu courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Australia: R (Frequent Violence)
Hong Kong: II
Ontario: R
Singapore: PG
United Kingdom: 18


Hong Kong Legends has gained a well-deserved reputation for presenting the finest transfers of HK movies on the market. Indeed, you have to look incredibly closely at the screen here to find so much as a speckle and there are certainly no scratches to be seen. The PAL anamorphic presentation looks splendid, with fresh and attractive colors, and represents a very noticeable improvement over the HK Universe release. The disc defaults to a lousy English dubtrack but the Cantonese version is also included, along with well-translated English subs that make it perfectly easy to distinguish between speakers. Both tracks have been re-mixed in 5.1 and, as is usually always the case with these older films, the dialogue remains up front while little more than the score emanates from the back. The plentiful extras consist of a 20 minute interview with Donnie Yen (who talks about the challenges of his profession and what makes the fights in Yuen Woo-ping's pictures so amazing) a photo gallery, and lengthy animated/narrated biographies for Yen and Yuen (plus a static one for Cynthia Yang). There is also an international English market trailer, plus UK video promo spots for this and ten other Hong Kong Legends titles. Michael Wong and author Stefan Hammond (SEX AND ZEN AND A BULLET IN THE HEAD) can also be heard on a third audio track throughout the feature. The pair do not seem to have prepared too much for the talk (neither recognize Yuen Shun-yee, for example) and there is far too much play-by-play on Hammond's part. There are also precious few anecdotes directly related to the production. In addition to its other attributes, this Region 2 disc also sports some of the best moving menus you will ever see from an independent company.

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