Asian Charlie’s Angels (Review)
Asian Charlie’s Angels
It seems America is not the only country where guys named Charlie hire beautiful women to solve crimes. Hong Kong has joined the fun, and their Charlie follows in his American counterpart’s footsteps. What results is a television pilot for a failed Chinese TV series (as best as I can gather from the few available sources) complete with all the bad parts left in that show you why it wasn’t ordered as a full series. Lots of bad spots. A few bright spots show up, but the show mostly contains some odd elements, some things left completely unexplained, and two main characters developed so flimsily that the VCD case this movie came in is thicker. The three Angels are played by some well known actresses, which puts the failure entirely on the shoulders of the writers/directors/producers. How you can score some big names and then fail in every other aspect must take some skill. Well, Uwe Boll pulls it off, but China should be emulating good directors. Christy Chung is the biggest name here of the three, not only is she super hot, but she’s pretty well known internationally. Kelly Lin is also known a bit outside of Hong Kong, as is Annie Wu, but neither to the extent of Christy Chung (Chung was previously seen here in Red Wolf.) Still, they are all big names in Hong Kong, and star power alone should have guaranteed a hit, even moderately. That it didn’t should be a warning sign. A big warning sign. Billboard size. Billboard seen from space size. Billboard seen from outside the galaxy size. What I’m saying is, pretty big. This is technically Part 2, seeming to be the second half of a two-hour pilot, yet it’s pretty stand alone as it is. If I ever run across Part 1, I’ll update this review, but there is no need to wait, especially since there is plenty of pain to go around for this episode, mixed with the guilty pleasure of seeing the hot Angels run around. From what little I’ve found of the missing first half, it has nothing to do with what happens here, anyway. So let’s sail away on the Angel train of adventure. Grab your halo and wings, it will be a bumpy ride…
Two of the Angels are using a computer device to spy inside a house, and then enter. These girls are Kelly Lin and Annie Wu. They think the house is empty, but the man they were investigating was in the bathroom. Surprised, they struggle, then chase him through an apartment complex, Annie Wu getting hurt in the process. The Mystery Man runs into the streets, where he knocks over Christy Chung, who seems to have been just taking a stroll. He laughs as he knocks her down, where she seems to recognize him or something, and starts chasing after him, joining Kelly Lin in the process. Actually, she’s outrunning Kelly Lin at this point. This is odd, not just because so few films have pedestrian chase scenes suddenly pick up additional participants, but because later we find out Christy Chung is just a reporter at this time, yet she’s outpacing the athletic Angel Kelly Lin. Charlie needs to get his girls some better cardio programs. It does look like Charlie has his “Grabbing tree branches while sliding to your doom” programs down pat, as Kelly does just that when she and Christy go sliding in a small forest area as the Mystery Man escapes. To be honest, Christy was probably wearing heeled shoes instead of spy/ninja/athletic shoes like Kelly Lin, it’s a wonder she could keep up, much less gain the lead, so I don’t fault her for falling.
The three girls investigate the apartment of the Mystery Man, it seems Christy has been integrated into the group without question. The Mystery Man is in reality a serial killer/food critic named Feng Ming. Like all food critics, he’s gone mad with power. The power of the printed word. He’s also obsessed with Christy Chung, what with having the entire ceiling of a secret room in his apartment covered with her pictures. It’s pretty creepy, but I bet there are some guys in real life who have the same design, complete with the Christy Chung pictures. They also find some letters written to Christy, and then the police arrive. The three girls chastise them for being so late, including a cop named Zhong Wen who seems to know them from their previous adventures.
Christy runs into the killer Feng Ming on an elevator, where he tells her he’ll kill one more, then he chloroforms her and drops her off in the lobby of a hotel. What a gentleman serial killer/food critic.
A serial killer/food critic is not enough of a draw for an hour of TV pilot, so we jump into a completely different plot, where a rich businessman is seen doing pullups way high on a windowsill, like dozens of feet in the air. The police chief and Officer Zhong Wen come, and show the man pictures of him and his girlfriend/secretary, these pictures having been recovered at the food critic/serial killer’s house. He gets put under police protection, though we won’t see the cops again until the end of the episode. The businessman is Pan Jai Xi, his girlfriend/secretary is Bao Ling. Annie Wu goes undercover as Zheng Ke Ren, who is the sister of Pan Jai Xi’s late wife. I guess to protect him, but the whole episode seems to be focusing on bringing him down, so he gets revealed as being bad sometime soon. Bao Ling, the girlfriend/secretary, is kidnapped by the food critic/serial killer (is a food critic killer a “cereal killer”? MuHahahaha! That pun’s so bad I have nowhere to go but up!) Bao Ling is videotaped, but then returned and put int he hospital, where she claims it was a robber. This makes zero sense at the time and adds to the confusion, though at the end we find out why.
Christy gets a call from the Serial Killer/Food Critic again, who tells her he’s leaving, but first mails a tape to her. Christy gets a nosebleed, because whenever Food Critic/Serial Killers threaten to leave most women, they bleed uncontrollably from their nose. It turns out he meant leave her by jumping off a building to his death leaving her. Well, not really, it’s obvious he was meeting someone, yet the next shot is him falling to his death with an introductory-level Photoshop blur effect showing how fast he was falling. So the serial killing/food critiquing has come to a close, yet I never learned if I should eat at Shakey’s!
The Angels have a meeting, complete with the Asian Bosley, a fat Chinese Guy called Chubby. Chubby seems to be too old to keep up with a pack of beautiful girls, so he’s always complaining. Some guys have all the problems in the world. The girls come up with a weird plan and they get a montage scene. Montage! Yeah, a montage. Montaging through the night! Two of the girls run around dressed as ninjas with black leather baseball caps while putting cameras all over Pan Jai Xi’s office. He’s getting married soon to Bao Ling, who seems to be slowly getting crazy/jealous of Annie Wu (still in disguise as Zheng Ke Ren), and a wedding dress is now in his office. Annie Wu runs across it, and tries it on. Pan walks in on her, they laugh, and hold each other…uh, this is getting disturbing. Bao Ling walks in on them cuddling in her wedding dress, and goes a bit crazy. A big bit crazy. A gigantic bit crazy. She freaks the freak out! Annie Wu says that since she owns stock, she’s the boss of Pan Jai Xi, so she demands that Bao Ling get fired. And he does it! Bao gets escorted out, but she smashes a whole ton of stuff, and threatens to tell the truth if they aren’t married. What truth? THE TRUTH! Hopefully it isn’t those terrible Truth anti-smoking commercials, I want to light up every time they come on, and I don’t even smoke.
Kelly Lin now joins the undercover fun as a former roommate of Annie Wu’s undercover identity, she tells Bao Ling that Pan Jai Xi and Annie Wu’s undercover identity have been having an affair for years, she gives Bao Ling some doctored photographs we saw her making during the montage scenes. Bao Ling confronts Annie Wu’s identity Ke Ren, who confirms it! They have a fight, where Annie Wu pulls a gun, but Bao Ling uses it so shoot Annie Wu in the back! One Angel gone back to Heaven! Meanwhile, Christy Chung meets with Pan Jai Xi, and tells him that Bao Ling is the real serial killer, and the food critic used her for blackmail, but she killed him. This makes Pan Jai Xi so mad he acts badly. Real badly, so badly that even him not speaking English, he still comes off as phoning it in. He heads back to his house where Bao Ling is, and on the way runs over a cat. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! You freaking jerk! Poor kitty.
Pan Jai Xi pulls an axe out of his trunk and sneaks into the house, chopping off Bao Ling’s head! Wait, it was but a dummy, she has her gun trained on him. She yells at him because he ued her to kill his first wife, the sister of the identity Annie Wu took. Pan Jai Xi claims he loves her, and cuts his throat with the axe! NOw that’s a big shaving error. Oddly enough, it’s another trick, where he gets the gun from Bao Ling and tries to shoot her, only to find it’s loaded with blanks! Yep, another trick! The three Angels waltz in (including the NOT-dead Annie Wu) where they explain it was all a trick. The cops come and clean up the mess.
Back at Angel HQ, Charlie finally makes an appearance; he looks like he’s trapped in the Matrix! The Machines must have risen when we weren’t paying attention. They celebrate, because Christy Chung has been hired as a full time Angel! Boo-YAH! Chubby is overwhelmed that he has to control three girls full time, and at the end, Chirsty gets a tape from the food critic which confirms that she was right and Bao Ling was the real killer. So they drink Champagne and toast to a new era of crimesolving.
As far as I know, this new era didn’t really happen, but the ImaginAsian site lists a few plots for this series and is airing it, so they may have made a few more episodes or something. There is literally almost no information about this anywhere (at least on English sites) so I had to construct some information from the few sources. The video is shot on terrible tape or low quality digital, and it is full of dubs all over. It screams cheap TV show. The TV site talks about a plot involving a businessman’s son being bullied by some drug lords, which doesn’t happen here and seems to take place afterwards, though this is the second half of the pilot. So maybe they made like 6 episodes or something. Of course, the synopsis at ImaginAsian also says “Dedicated to justice, the three angels take assignments from David, their trusty boss.” Who the Freak is David? Also, the bullied son of the CEO is called “Timmy” which isn’t in this version. No one has English names, so this must be dubbed all over the place with wacky names. Especially since the IMDB has completely different names, though they could just be wrong again. Why it isn’t called David’s Angels is a mystery to me. Actually, the real mystery is how this can be so bad. Perhaps we should call Scooby-Doo or some real mystery solvers to find out, or even the American Charlie’s Angels. We’ll pull the fake mask off of Christy Chung to reveal it’s really Mr. MacGregor, the owner of the haunted amusement park, and he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for us meddling kids.
Rated 3/10 (Pullups, Pictures, Poor Kitty)
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