From the filmmaking king of mediocrity Philip Ko comes another cheapo Philippines-lensed potboiler mixing by-the-numbers crime with painfully unfunny comedy.
Inspector Ko Chi Pang (Robin Shou) has been sent to the Philippines to extradict criminal Loder (Philip Ko) back to Hong Kong. En route to the airport, Loder is freed in an assault by his henchmen, but leaves behind an important key.
Reluctantly teaming up with an inept local cop, Inspector Ko follows Loder's girlfriend to a warehouse, only to discover that it's a setup--Loder is waiting for them, wanting his key back. Japanese agent Yumihito (Yukari Oshima) shows up just in time to save the day, but Loder escapes, sans key.
Loder's girlfriend turns out to be Yumihito's informant, explaining that the key is to a hotel safe-deposit box full of money for a drug deal; no sooner are the words out of her mouth than she's killed and the key snatched back in an assault on Ko's hotel room. Checking every hotel in Manila, the
three cops spot Loder and follow him to the drug deal, where a battle erupts and the bad guys are wiped out.
Philip Ko's badly plotted movies contain numerous scenes like the one here in which the cops wander aimlessly and just happen to stumble across Loder driving to a drug deal with his head out the car window. The inept script is bottom heavy with pants-falling-down humor featuring the alleged comic
relief, Filippino cop King Kong. In a nightclub to question Loder's girlfriend, KK accidentally urinates in his pants, then is further embarassed by dancing girls who pull him onstage. Stripping him down, they reveal he uses a brassiere as a shoulder holster; fighting them off, he inadvertently
discharges his weapon, alerting Loder to the cops' presence. A running riddle about Abraham Lincoln finally pays off in the epilogue with... no punchline. And an ethnic in-joke has Inspector Ko signing the hotel register as Chow Sing Chi--the Chinese name for superstar Asian comedian Steven Chow.
Originally released in 1992 as HARD TO KILL, the film actually stars second-billed Robin Shou, opening with a pumping-iron sequence showing off his buff bod; top-billed Yukari Oshima (billed under her Filipino name of Cynthia Luster) doesn't show up until nearly an hour into the movie. Whereas
third-billed Simon Yam only appears in three muddled flashbacks as Shou's dead partner or subordinate (the script seems unsure which), totalling less than four minutes of film altogether. Of course, one reason the flashbacks seem so choppy and out of place is because they're taken from anothermovie, the vastly superior FATAL TERMINATION (1988), also costarring Ko and Shou and executive produced by Ko but directed by the infinitely more talented Andrew Kam. Among the recycled shots are Yam in a confusing free-for-all shootout (with Moon Lee--and all coherence--edited out, and Ko edited
in); Yam holding a conversation with Robin Shou from the earlier film (but with different footage of Shou replacing his original reverse angle shots); and Yam being strangled (by Shou in the original, Ko here) and tossed out a window, followed by footage of a different character from the original
film plunging to his death.
Ko's journeymanlike direction neither enhances nor detracts from the action, the meat of any Hong Kong crime story. Cinematographer Johnny Lee offers bland visuals that give no indication he'll go on to solo as director of the intensely nihilistic A DAY WITHOUT POLICEMAN (1994). Martial arts
choreographor Deon Lam (BLACK MASK, WONDER SEVEN, SEX & ZEN II, SIXTY MILLION DOLLAR MAN with Steven Chow) offers up mediocre fighting for the most part, although watching Yukari Oshima in action is always a treat, and her pole-fighting in the climax is a definite highlight of an otherwise
lackluster movie. (Violence, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)
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