Angel Enforcers (Review)
aka Wong ga fei fung
Directed by Hoh Chi Mau (probably Godfrey Ho)
Another in the long line of female action movies from Hong Kong, this uses the Angel name in its title despite being unrelated to Angel. The 1989 release date puts it near the beginnings of the movement, so it was released before the genre became fully saturated and the public moved on to different interests. That doesn’t mean it is a good film, but it is entertaining, lots of people end up getting shot, and main characters don’t even make it through the end of the film! What is weird is the film seems billed as a group of four female cops, but two of them have roles that are less substantial than minor characters in the film. It is what we would call “crazy”. The film is directed by Hoh Chi Mau, but this is the only film he is listed as directing, and on the dubbed trailer Godfrey Ho is listed as director(!) so this is probably just another of his pseudonyms. Previous Godfrey Ho encounters on TarsTarkas.NET include Robo Vampire (since proved NOT Godrey Ho), Catman in Lethal Track, Catman in Boxers Blow, and Deadly Target; so you can see why we are not too pleased to run into him again. Keep in mind that sometimes Godfrey Ho’s name showed up as director of films he didn’t do after Joseph Lai’s company released them (one noticeable example is Wolf Devil Woman, really directed by Pearl Cheung Ling.) Angel Enforcers is supposed to be out on DVD, but all we have is a subtitled, tore up VHS (and as those DVDs are just sourced from VHS, so we aren’t that far behind in quality) so that’s what we got screencaps from. Heck, maybe I’ll upgrade to Laserdisc next! The Inaccurate Movie DataBase is all over the map on the cast listing here, throwing in all sorts of actors and actresses that are nowhere near this film. But that’s what happens when you let the general public edit things. Enough complaining, we must get with the non-stop Hong Kong action! Cops shooting, criminals being evil, people dying, and women kicking butt!
First let’s meet our characters….
The movie begins as two trios of thugs meet at a marina to exchange briefcases, one gang is Chinese and one is white (this screams Godfrey Ho right there so we’ll just drop thinking Hoh Chi Mau is a real person.) Their exchange of evil things in briefcases (dirty undies traded for Marsellus Wallace’s soul) completes just as four female cops demand that they freeze. The gangs run, of course, and we get our first battle of the movie! The Angel Enforcers (TM) shoot or beat the snot out of all the goons. They also manage to toss off their hats, fling around their hair, and pause for a few seconds while their characters are labeled for us. This doesn’t really help me as the titles are in Chinese and the subtitles decided to not translate that section! D’oh!
Back at HQ, Chief gives them an important case. The Case of the Don’t Explain What’s Going On To The Audience. We jump to some sort of diamond store, while some random guys get body massages and towels are put into lockers as ominous music plays. It must be real bad, maybe the towels contain scripts for some of Godfrey Ho’s Ninja movies! Outside, cop Marianne and her partner Yvonne chat with Marianne’s father Uncle Dan, who is also a police officer. He has a balloon that is mentioned as a signal balloon but is never used as such because I think the subtitles are just making stuff up at this point. The girls go inside to become operatives, while some guy named Mr. Cho arrives to buy the African Star. Not the World War II medal, but a big diamond that about the size of a golf ball. At this point the men in the massage parlor leave to do something evil, namely rob the diamond store. They shoot guards, grab the African Star, and take hostages as cops pull guns on them. People get shot left and right as the crooks try to escape, which is good because it thins out the minor characters. Marianne and Yvonne have immunity to bullets so they can continue to follow and shoot while everyone around them gets blasted to pieces with laser-like accuracy. Where is Uncle Dan during all this? Someone pushes him and he falls on his head, injuring him. Yvonne and Marianne chase the baddies down some stairs, where Yvonne does some sort of jump to the top of a staircase doorway stunt to shoot a goon that would probably end with her dead in real life. Only three villains remain at this point now, but one of them actually gets a bead on Yvonne, and would have killed her had he not gotten shot by one of the other thugs. He does do a rather nice stunt after being shot, as he falls off a bridge onto a truck and then falls to the street. The hero villain turned out to be an undercover cop named Ben. The last robber yells at Ben for being a turncoat and escapes.
Later, undercover guy Ben gets yelled at by Chief for breaking his cover. Chief doesn’t seem to care Ben was part of an operation that killed lots of people, including cops. But Chief does care if Ben discovered Mr. Big’s identity, but Ben hasn’t. Ben says people will now try to kill him, so they should set a trap. Sorry, Ben, but you aren’t a girl, so you’re probably dead meat no matter how many guards you have on you. Enough of the plot, Let’s go to a random segue involving some gang action. Gangs we’ve not seen before nor care about. Some white crooks try to renege on a deal since everyone is dead, but that ticks off an Asian guy. He’s even more mad when it is revealed they killed the Asian guy’s wife because she was going to go to the cops. Than they kill the Asian guy after a brief gun battle. Exciting! It would be even more exciting if I cared about these people.
We see an important person walking around, dressed in a dapper suit. It’s a girl but I’m betting that she’s Mr. Big, because I already introduced her as such above in the Roll Call. She is one of the better villain bosses from these cheap action films, because it’s just silly enough to make the film forgivable. And women dressed in suits being evil is surprisingly cool. People report to her, including the white gangsters that killed the Asian guy. Another goon named Mark is told to tell Lethal Weapons that she wants the female cops dead. Danny Glover will get right on it. Oh, not those Lethal Weapons! Instead, two Asian guys dressed like Crocket and Tubbs will get right on it. One of them is Larry, who we will call Lethal Weapon 1 (LW1) because he got a name but Lethal Weapon 2 (LW2) did not, thus explaining why I’m numbering them. Lethal Weapons, Angel Enforcers, does everyone belong to some sort of cool club? I bet Mr. Big’s gang has a cool name as well, too bad we never learn it.
The cops set up their trap, at a shopping mall where like 10 cops are all together in a big group. That’s the plan/trap. A big group. Napoleon wouldn’t stand a chance. The big group even manages to have the local security guard catch someone with lots of weapons before they do, but they turn out to be movie props. American cops would just shoot you. And they should, idiots carrying movie guns in a paper sack but no other movie items at all. It’s almost as if there were written in as part of a bad film! One of the Lethal Weapons (LW2) has a sick grandma. Yep. The other one (Larry, aka LW1) sneaks off early in the morning to do the job himself, leaving a note for his friend (he says he will go with his friend to his sick grandma after the job is over.) He kills a guard by distracting him with money, which was actually pretty clever. I give credit where credit is due. I also dispense sarcasm where that is due, and the entire police force deserves that since they walk right into the trap and Ben manages to get killed despite wearing a bulletproof vest. He should have worn his bulletproof scarf. The Angel Enforcers arrive to help Ben (too late) and LW1 escapes in a van. Yvonne jumps on the van, smashes in the windshield, but is thrown from the car when LW1 hits the breaks (this is another cool scene.) Marianne chases after in another car, LW1 gets trapped and is shot dead because he won’t surrender.
LW2 won’t leave town, which angers Mr. Big. Mr. Big loves to give people money and tell them to leave town for a while, it’s half the things she does in the first section of the film. Thanks to the magic of movie coincidences, Mr. Big’s HQ is in a club, a club where Angel Enforcers Yvonne and Marianne are at undercover attempting to pay with counterfeit money (to prove they are good counterfeiters to infiltrate Mr. Big’s counterfeit operation.) This whole thing is foiled when Marianne’s sister Winnie turns out to also be working at the club as a club girl, where Mr. Cho (who tried the buy the African Star earlier) is sexually harassing her. What are the odds of all this coming together at once? Let’s just say you’d have to be hit by lighting 7 times while simultaneously winning 3 Lottos and marrying the Easter Bunny. On Mars. LW2 wants to kill the girls right away, but Mr. Big says no. Instead, she sends some random guys to try to break into the Angel Enforcers’ car, so they will get arrested in such a fashion it breaks the window of Mr. Cho’s limo and he sues the department. That’s some spectacular planning on the part of Mr. Big. In Hong Kong when some random guy sued the department over a window you get taken off active duty. So keep that in mind if you ever decide to become a Hong Kong police officer and cross a female crime boss who wears men’s clothing (this site has odd demographics, so this advice will probably be helpful.)
The Lethal Angel B Squad (the other two girls) go after Mr. Big, and pick a fight with her while she is jogging alone. After a brief exchange nothing happens except they yell at each other a bit. No wonder you two are the B Squad. Pathetic. The two car thieves from before are killed so they won’t talk, so that’s two less characters for me to keep track of. Mr. Cho decides to be a jerk to Mr. Big so I’ll think he’ll soon be Mr. Dead. My mistake, he will be Mr. Kidnapped first. On his yacht with a white girl (who is topless for most of her scenes) Mr. Cho is having a party. The girl mixes drinks with her bare breasts (called a Cupid Cocktail) and handcuffs Mr. Cho to the railing. He’s too horny to see where this is headed. He refuses to pay money, so the girl trots out two male “blue movie stars from Hollywood” in thongs that take Mr. Cho on a train to sodomy town. These two “blue movie stars from Hollywood” look like the string beanest guys I’ve ever seen tried to be passed off as gay porn stars. One is completely bald with a scruffy beard. I think even low 1970’s standards would have kept him from making a mark. With his wang on another man’s behind. Okay, I went too far with that comment, as the photo of the “blue movie stars” will attest. Mr. Cho is violated and won’t be seen again.
Yvonne is called to help find Mr. Cho while Marianne gets a call from LW2 informing her that her sister Winnie has been kidnapped. Marianne gets beat up a while by LW2, but Marianne’s dad calls Yvonne with the address she’s at and then goes himself. Winnie is tied up and set on top of an ice block, while grenades are tied to her with strings tied on the pins that will get pulled out when the ice melts some more. At first I didn’t see what the problem was because it was hard to see the grenades, even if I didn’t have a terrible copy of this film. And it’s hard to describe. Let’s just say she is in explosive danger. Dad arrives to cut the wires while Marianne is still getting beaten around. Instead of bothering to beat on Marianne any more, LW2 throws a barrel at Winnie and her dad, grenades get pulled and Winnie and Dad explode. Two family members of a major character just got offed out of the blue! That’s something Hollywood doesn’t have the gonads to try to pull off. They’d just PG-13 the whole situation, have Andy Milonakis make a fart joke, and throw in some product placement for iPods.
Marianne is in the hospital, in shock, non-responsive. Her bodyguards are transferred to the Cho case, and Chief wants Yvonne to join the case as well. Instead, Yvonne quits the force because she’s tired of seeing good cops get ignored. Unfortunately, while Yvonne is off emulating Shaft LW2 sends flowers to Marianne. Bomb flowers. Marianne has joined the rest of her family as burnt toasties. Yvonne is ready to go kill her some Lethal Weapon 2, and even refuses help from the Angel Enforcer B Squad.
Yvonne is not the only lady chasing after LW2. Mr. Big is waiting at his place ready to punish him for not leaving town like she said. LW2 ignores her and tries to light a shrine to Larry (LW1), getting shot twice for his trouble. He lights the candle anyway, then shoots the bodyguards around Mr. Big. Mr. Big and LW2 have a big fight that involves him kicking her across the room at times. Maybe LW2 should have gone out for soccer. LW2 tells Mr. Big he wants her to die slowly, so he shoots her in each arm, than in each leg. But that’s it, because the gun is now empty. She smiles because she isn’t dead, but she probably should have saved the effort because Yvonne bursts in the room and blasts away with a machine gun. LW2 manages to duck out of the way, but Mr. Big gets shot deader than a doornail that’s dead. I’m saying Mr. Big could star in a one-woman adaptation of Holes. Yvonne needs to learn to check her fire!
It’s FINAL BATTLE TIME! We get a fight between Yvonne and LW2 that has it all. Kicking, flipping, splits from Yvonne, Yvonne getting tossed across a room like a rag doll. The match is interrupted when the Angel Enforcers B Squad shows up to help, and now it is three against one. The fight continues for a little bit, but then LW2 gets tossed into a net, stabbed with two swords, and blown up with a grenade. What’s next, a piano dropping on him? That’s the end, because we don’t need to deal with any aftermath here.
Well, this was pretty entertaining, even if it was ridiculous and filled with random plot sections. Killing off a major character was a decent choice, and it made the film seem more realistic (despite all the crazy unrealistic actions happening.) Some of the action sequences were well done, and had neat stunts. There was a lot of gunplay and innocent bystanders being shot with no repercussions, but the department goes all crazy when Mr. Cho complains about his car. Mr. Cho’s fate after he becomes the unwilling caboose of a man-train is never dealt with, so we leave with an unsatisfying conclusion without seeing him killed as well. Mr. Big is the best villain, because she is just gimmicky enough to raise questions but not so ridiculous that it is unbelievable that she is in charge. In conclusion, this is a decent action flick, but not memorable enough in the genre to make any recommended lists. But if you see if on a cheap DVD, it will be a satisfying 90 minutes that keeps you from cleaning your gutters. And now I have to go clean the gutters. Gutters suck.
Rated 5/10 (Mr. Cho, Mr. Diamond, Mr. Chicken, familiar face, grenade!)
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