Issue #286         HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES          October 24th, 2005

Royal Warriors
(1986; D & B Films Co.)

Cantonese: Wong ga jin si
Mandarin: Huang jia zhan shi
English: Royal Warriors
Alternate English Titles: In the Line of Duty, Police Assassin, Ultra Force


  RATING: 7/10


The best film Michelle Yeoh Chu-kheng did for D & B, ROYAL WARRIORS boasts sensational action setpieces which more than compensate for its ordinary storyline. After teaming up to foil a hijacking meant to free criminal Roy Li (Michael Chan Wai-man) before he could be extradited to HK, law enforcement officers Michelle (a HK policewoman), Kenji Yamamoto (a former police officer in his native Japan) and airline security officer Michael (Michael Wong Man-tak) find themselves the targets of Li's old war buddies (Pai Ying and Lam Wai), who swore to live and die together. Yamamoto's wife and baby daughter are (predictably) killed by a car bomb, leading to a shootout in a nightclub that eliminates one of the attackers but also many innocent civilians. Ignoring the suspension issued by her by-the-book superior (Kenneth Tsang Kong), Michelle teams up with Michael and the vengeful Yamamoto (Hiroyuki Sanada) to end the threat to their lives.

Michelle Yeoh Chu-kheng L to R: Michael Wong Man-tak, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michelle Yeoh Chu-kheng

Cinematographer-turned-director David Chung Chi-man (MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS, I LOVE MARIA) keeps the proceedings moving at near warp speed throughout and Mang Hoi's action choreography is so back-breakingly spectacular, it induces sympathy pains. Yeoh is charming, graceful and deadly in turns, and Japanese star Sanada is nearly as impressive, hemmed in only by his stereotypical hardboiled character. In fact, the only liability here is Michael Wong, whose character is so obnoxious, you wish that Michelle and Yamamoto would kill him themselves. The climax, in which Pai Ying squares off against the unarmed Yeoh using a chainsaw and a sledge hammer, is so impressively staged, it raises one's admiration for Yeoh's abilities even higher, if that is possible. Known in some markets as IN THE LINE OF DUTY, this should actually be called IN THE LINE OF DUTY 2, as it followed the series' first entry, YES, MADAM (much of the score was previously used in that film). Other players appearing here: Kam Hing-yin, Reiko Niwa, Chen Jing, Paul Chun Pui, Dennis Chan Kwok-san, Lau Siu-ming, Woo Fung, Eddie Maher, Helena Law Lan, Hui Shiu-hung. Look very fast for the late great Blackie Ko Shou-liang as a bus driver whose vehicle ends up being part of a highway pile-up.

Hiroyuki Sanada (left), Michelle Yeoh Chu-kheng Pai Ying


The packaging inexplicably says 2.35:1, but the film is presented correctly and looks infinitely superior to Universe’s HK DVD, the American Tai Seng LD, and Cinepix’s late ‘80s Canadian tape release. The limitations of the film stock are sometimes apparent and blacks tend to be light, but the digital restoration results in a spotless image and decent hues. Less successful are the Dolby Digital and DTS remixes, which are limited by the low quality of the original mix (not included here) and contain some new foley work that does not mesh too well with the old (the club sequence is the most notable example). Larry Dolgin supervised a very good English dubbed version for Atlas International when that company offered the movie for export during the late ‘80s as IN THE LINE OF DUTY. Alas, Dolgin’s track has been replaced here by a newer, decidedly inferior dub and Fox has added insult to injury by using it as the basis for the English subtitles, rather than providing a proper translation. The original HK trailer is on hand, along with video promo spots for this and other Fox releases.

Michael Chan Wai-man Michelle Yeoh Chu-kheng

This DVD is available from Amazon:

Images in this review courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2005. All Rights Reserved.


- U.S. Release

NTSC – Region 1 Only

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (no cat.#)

Dolby Digital 5.1 & DTS

Post-synced Cantonese and Dubbed English Language

Subtitles (Optional): English

20 Chapters

16:9 Enhanced (1.85:1)

96 Minutes


- Australia: M 15+

Canada (video): 18A

France: - 12

Germany: 18

Great Britain: 18

Norway: 18

Ontario: R

Quebec: 13+

Singapore: NC16

Spain: 18

United States: R

Contains brutal violence

10 A Masterpiece
9 Excellent
8 Highly Recommended
7 Very Good
6 Recommended
5 Marginal Recommendation
4 Not Recommended
3 Poor
2 Definitely Not Recommended
1 Dreadful