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Issue #166 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES June 30th, 2003

Angel Force
(1990; Hatract Films/Ying Feng Film/Chun Wah Film and TV)

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

Cantonese: Tin si dak ging
Mandarin: Tian shi te jing
English: Angel Special Cop

The Girls-With-Guns sub-genre (personified by ANGEL, its two sequels, and numerous ripoffs) was a mainstay of HK cinema in the late 80s and early 90s, and finding these films on videocassette or laserdisc rarely presented much of a problem. However, only a few of them made it to VCD and even less have appeared on DVD thus far, making an average effort like ANGEL FORCE seem more noteworthy than it really is. However, after a slow start (with some painful attempts at character development), this modestly budgeted effort delivers more than its fair share of RAMBO-style jungle combat, a la ANGEL II. After being mired for some time with tedious surveillance duty, martially skilled police officers May (cult favorite Moon Lee Choi-fung) and Lung (Wilson Lam Chun-yin) are assigned by their department to create a special task force for a clandestine mission in Burma. Their objective is to rescue an important hostage being held by a vicious renegade general (Shaw Brothers perennial Johnny Wang Lung-wei), who has a sizeable, well-equipped army under his command. When Lung is badly wounded by a would-be assassin (Nadeki Fujimi), May takes over as leader, guiding her troops into the proverbial "heart of darkness." However, the general is not the only enemy she has to worry about.

Directed in capable but mostly uninteresting fashion by Wah San (best known in the west for his wild sci-fi thriller, SUPER INFRA-MAN, released in America by Joseph Brenner as simply INFRA-MAN), ANGEL FORCE offers up only the most rudimentary genre elements but is busy enough to hold one's interest during the battle-heavy second half (choreographed by Yuen Bun). Hugo Ng Toi-yung (image) gets the best role as Benny (or "Little Vietnam" as he is called on subtitled prints), the requisite disturbed vet, who comes up with an inventive variation on the oft-imitated "shoot the hostage" bit from THE BIG HEAT. Moon Lee evidently made this right after finishing THE NOCTURNAL DEMON (also 1990), as she sports much the same silly haircut her character had in that film. A large portion of the soundtrack consists of cues swiped from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE. Lung Fong (aka Jimmy Lee), Shing Fui-on, and Lam Chung also appear.

Cover art courtesy World.

Monn Lee Choi-fung. Image courtesy World.
World #WVDVD-595 (U.S. label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Cantonese, Mandarin, and English Language Tracks (all post-synced)

8 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Grabs

Fullscreen (cropped from 1.85:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

NTSC Format

87 Minutes

Contains brutal violence, brief sexual violence, nudity, and coarse language

DVD menu courtesy World.

Hong Kong: II
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]

World Video is making an attempt to improve their product and have finally solved that ridiculous chapter pause problem. However, the single layer disc is still split into two sections with a brief bit of black between each (almost like the side change point of a laserdisc!) and the only way to jump from one section to the other is via the chapter menu. The cropping of the image is not really a problem and colors and resolution are fairly good but the print contains plenty of speckles and the image is mildly grainy at times. There are also two brief instances of master tape damage. The inclusion of three language tracks (all of which are inexplicably indicated as "German" by my Region 1 Sony S7000) is welcome but the lack of subtitles leaves English speakers with no option other than the crummy dubtrack. The audio is adequate, with the Cantonese version sounding the best. A brief section of audio was missing from the English version, so a pair of lines are repeated to fill the gap. Extras consist of a section marked "Trailer," which is 11 minutes of clips from some of World's higher profile titles set to some awful techno music, a Film Information section, and scrolling filmographies for Yuen Bun, Moon Lee, and Wilson Lam.

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