The Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa Shattered the Black Dragon Gang (Review)
The Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa Shattered the Black Dragon Gang
aka The Dark Heroine Mu Lanhua Shattered the Black Dragon Gang aka 女黑俠木蘭花血戰黑龍黨
Directed by Law Chi
The Dark Heroine is back, and this time, it’s personal. Okay, maybe it’s not personal, but she’s back and The Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa Shattered the Black Dragon Gang definitely has her shattering a gang of thugs who think they can get away with doing evil stuff, even if she’s doing it in the present tense instead of the past tense. Clearly influenced by James Bond more than the preceding film, the stakes are grander (but less close to home), the external story is streamlined, and there is more even pacing of action.
Like many of these films, there is a large gang behind an international conspiracy. The evil Black Dragon Gang has matching black turtlenecks with shiny jackets and black pants, because the more evil and conspiractory your gang is, the more they have matching uniforms. The boss has shiny pants, which begins to look ridiculous when he’s donning his pantyhose mask disguise. No one starts dancing and snapping and going on about how when you’re a Black Dragon Gang, you’re a Black Dragon Gang all the way; but I’ll still mention the Jets from West Side Story like I do whenever there is a matching uniform gang. Just to show you how much this gang is into Black Dragon Pride, they have their own gang letterhead for letters!
When they aren’t threatening the world, the Black Dragon Gang hangs in their secret base complete with wall of supercomputer and many operators. They have a giant dragon painting in the bar part of their lair. One gang member tosses knives at a dummy of a girl in a bikini. It’s like some sort of weird spy frathouse. At one meeting of the Black Dragons, we see they have a secret leader who speaks to them via a head projection from a screen. This secret boss is never revealed at any point, nor is he mentioned in the sequel. Not that we’re going to try and close loose ends here…but we made up a theory that we’ll present at the end of the review. And TarsTarkas.NET declares it canon. Because we can do that. Because we have a cannon.
The Black Dragon Gang’s first activity is to crash a plane that an Asian sheik is on board and attempt to kidnap him. As he’s rescued by the fire department, the gang is forced to steal him directly from the hospital out from under the nose of Ko Cheung. They do so via hijacking a crane and ganking him through the window, and blowgunning a cop. They’ve also kidnapped the sheik’s young daughter (not speaking Cantonese I didn’t realize this until the end of the film where she shows up!)
There are literally swarms of police around the hospital who start running all over when it is discovered what is going on. The gang celebrates, the cops are failures, so who you gonna call?
No, not Ghostbusters! Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa! Didn’t you read the title of this review?
The cops go to hire her. Law Oi-Seung looks way way better with short hair, btw. The director gets all arty as Ko Cheung explains what’s going on, we get an instrumental montage of him speaking and zooms of the girls listening. It’s a great way to keep us from having to hear a speech about things we already know. But Muk Lan-fa claims she likes being retired, but she really knows the Black Dragon Gang is already watching her.
Don’t worry, Muk Lan-fa is a lady with a plan. A truck with “TV” written on both doors and the sides pulls up, two workers with “TV” written in huge letters with duck tape come out and enter the house. To work on the TV at the Muk house. The workers soon exit, and it’s evident even from the long tracking shot that the two workers are now the Muk sisters wearing the worker outfits as disguises. This fools no one, and the gang members call for reinforcements.
Dark Heroine heads to the hospital, finds an evil nurse, and gives her swirlies until she surrenders. A huge contingent of Black Dragon gang members then begin to crowd around the TV truck on the highway while on scooters. They follow her as she pretends to run out of gas, pushes the truck to the gas station, and then sprays all of them with gasoline while one of them is smoking.
This amazingly doesn’t result in everyone dying in a fiery explosion, just several gang members getting toasty, including a dude on fire, while the rest ride their scooters out of the flames. The gas station explodes as she drives off, the explosion so forceful is creates another explosion-wipe to transition the scene.
The two Black Dragon Gang members who lead that disaster mission get killed back at the secret lair (one disappeared in a puff of smoke, the other tossed into a pit that has smoke coming from it – not the smoke from the disappeared guy, totally unrelated smoke!) They didn’t even take their jackets before they killed them. The jackets must have been bought in bulk and not worth saving. And there was no scene where they’re forced to turn over their jackets before they’re killed, which gangs used to do back when gangs with special jackets meant something. Sloppy writing, Dark Heroine Muk Lan-fa Shattered the Black Dragon Gang!
The gang has captured Ko Cheung, who kills some gang members and stabs one in the eye with the pen, but he’s caught. The stabbed eye guy was in the previous film, will wear an eyepatch for the rest of this film, and will be in the sequel with an eyepatch. Now you know.
The mysterious Black Dragon Gang Leader talks to the room via a viewscreen that is also a photo of a naked woman when not a viewscreen. Nudity is perfectly okay as long as the person isn’t actually there being naked.
Bald Gang Leader comes out in a padded suit with pantyhose on head to talk with Ko Cheung. This whole outfit is ridiculous, but he’ll sport it on and off throughout the film. I’m not sure what they were going for here, but I think he’s supposed to be in disguise, even though it is the lamest disguise ever.
DH suits up for action as sis helps prepare her stuff: gun injected with liquid, some sort of spy device, a ring that’s totally not a Green Lantern ring… But she encounters 15 bad guys the second she goes into a warehouse and is captured almost immediately (though she does shoot a few of them!) and thrown into the same room as Ko Cheung.
You know they aren’t going to sit in that room quietly, and are soon escaping into the rest of the compound via a secret exit that opens when a lighter is burned in front of it. But goons soon pursue them, and the only way out is for Dark Heroine to shoot barrels that explode so Ko Cheung can escape, blowing herself up. Sure, we all believe that Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa is dead in the middle of the second of her three film. The Bald Gang Leader obviously is, as he goes into Muk Sau-Jan’s room at night and taunts her until Ko Cheung and other cops start shooting at him. Right afterwards, Muk Lan-Fa is revealed as being alive, having escaped the exploding barrel by jumping into another barrel and rolling away. I tried this move in Donkey Kong, and it totally doesn’t work. Cost me a title shot against the King of Kong. Guess I’ll have to stick to Dig Dug.
In a neat bit of film editing, the Muk sisters took the time the flashback showing how Muk Lan-Fa survived happened to dress into black costumes. Efficiency! They sneak around the Black Dragon Gang’s hideout, where they get in a prolonged gun battle that involves faking being shot, table hiding, and table kung fu. Muk Sau-Jan helps the real sheik from being kidnapped by fake doctors and nurses, while Muk Lan-Fa gets into a Mexican standoff with the Black Dragon Gang. Except they ain’t got no Mexicans. Only Black Dragons and Dark Heroines. And she gets captured, because her many many many bullets are not as many as the many many many many Black Dragon Gang members. If only she had packed one more manys worth of bullets!
Bald Gang Leader and her trade words for a while as hundreds of cops head towards the not so secret Black Dragon Gang base. Muk Lan-Fa escapes getting shot, and gets into another fist fight vs many gang members armed with guns, where finally she’s brought down by a brutal kick to the face. Then they keep beating her as she’s down, the collective amnesia preventing them from using their weapons also causing them to fight dirty.
The cops storm the base, and we get the massive gunbattle that these films always seem to end with. Gang members and cops die by the dozens. If you were a casket maker in Hong Kong, you’s be able to buy up half of the island after this night! Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa fights Bald Gang Leader more, who is randomly wearing his big pants pantyhose disguise or not wearing it. She also fights 10 guys at once when not fighting him, so I guess he’s leaving to go change costumes often? That doesn’t seem to be the way to win a epic battle. Muk Sau-Jan had entered with all the cops, and is now fighting Eyepatch. Eventually, all the baddies are killed or captured, including Bald Gang Leader and Eyepatch. The Sheik comes in, and we find out that they had his young daughter captured there as well. During the joyous reunion, Bald Gang Leader tries to escape in a car, only to be blown up when Muk Lan-Fa targets it with a bazooka. It’s a joyous celebration as that lame gang leader is roasted in his car. Seriously, you were an awful gang leader, make way for people who are better at being evil!
Wait, who was the secret leader of the Black Dragon Gang?? You can’t have that happen and not tell the answer? They just did? Dang it! We’ll never know now… But we can theorize! And here at TarsTarkas.NET, home of the Secret Movie Gang Task Force, we’ve determined that the secret boss is none other than a disguised Bakin from Insee Thong! And the Black Dragon Gang is a localized version of Red Bamboo, who menaced the world both in Insee Thong and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, thus making the Black Dragon Gangs communists. Remember, we have a cannon!
Shattered the Black Dragon Gang is probably the one to watch if you must only see one Dark Heroine flick. It’s got the most threatening gang, the more spy-ish action, and the biggest gun battle finale. The only drawback is the main boss of the Black Dragon Gang isn’t as cool as a villain as Sek Kin. But, then, few are.
Rated 9/10 (knife time, sup ladies?, I’m here to take your temperature, by karate chop!, this gang has its own letterhead!, guns from the ceiling, trains of the not-future, the Arabest sheik of them all, production logo)
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