Josephine Siao Fong-Fong kicks butt in this crazy awesome groovy 60s spy conspiracy Jane Bondish thriller! Despite a slow start and a confusing last minute, Golden Skeleton has become one of my favorite female spy films because the villains are just so weird. The leader Golden Skeleton is a guy in a gold skull mask, his henchmen have space cadet uniforms and masks, and Golden Skeleton is seldom seen without a pair of babes in midriff-baring hot pink catsuits flanking him. Just what evil is Golden Skeleton up to? Does it matter? What matters is cool things happen. Just go with it and enjoy the spectacle. We don’t need no stinking subtitles. Okay, fine, I did a bit of Googlin’ and found some plot points not explained by watching and making up things.
Director and writer Wong Fung helmed 88 films, including How The Ape Girl Stole The Lotus Lamp, Blonde Hair Monster, Midnight Were-wolf, The Lady Killer, Blue Falcon, and a whole host of the Wong Fei Hung films (which he wrote even more installments than he directed!) Born in 1923 in Guangxi, he began writing films in 1950, and directing in 1959. Wong Fung joined Shaw Brothers in 1973, and retired in 1980. He passed on sometime in the 1990s. The cinematography was done by Lee Maan-Git, who also worked on Bruce Li in New Guinea.
The soundtrack is 100% jazzy jazz. It is interesting how the all jazz soundtrack makes everything seem cooler and cooler. I should use jazzy jazz to soundtrack my life, then I’ll live in a constant cool high that will come crashing down around me when my iPod runs out of batteries. Hopefully I won’t be near any tall buildings to hurl myself off of! Just kidding, I’d totally kill myself by feeding myself to lions at the zoo, not tall buildings.
Pink Bomb aka Agent SAA9 (Josephine Siao Fong-Fong) – The secret agent on the case against Golden Skeleton and his goons. She’s relucently forced to accept help from Agent Guy SAA6 under her boss’s orders. Spends as much time fending off his clumsy advances as she does kicking the butts of Golden Skeleton’s goons. Pink Bomb’s real name is Jenny Lin. See more Josephine Siao in How the Ape Girl Stole the Lotus Lamp and The Furious Buddha’s Palm.
Agent Guy aka SAA6 (Cheung Ying-Tsoi) – Agent Guy is our James Bond wannabe. He spends most of the film clumsily trying to seduce everything he meets. Sometimes he almost makes it! He’s also bumbles away from attempt after attempt on his life, having the luck of fools. You cannot stop Agent Guy, because he’ll trip over his own shoelace and find a code to save the world.
Chen Ho aka Agent SAA10 (Gwan Jing-Leung) – Agent SAA10 is also on the case, even though he seems to be more of a third wheel who can’t save the day himself. But he’s good to have along to absorb blows until Pink Bomb gets around to punching out the guy he’s fighting. Gwan Jing-Leung is a former Peking Opera actor (he trained under Yu Jim-yuen, father of Yu So-Chau and trainer of the Seven Fortunes (Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and all them.)) Golden Skeleton was the first film produced by Gwan Jing-Leung, who also did the fight choreography. He produced a few more films before focusing on stunt work.
Agent SAA5 (Go Fung) – It’s yet another agent! This guy is totally not suspicious at all…
Golden Skeleton (It is a mystery!) – Who could the mysterious Golden Skeleton be? He runs a giant criminal conspiracy that does…something. And he has lots of people in high places at secret agencies, because he has people everywhere! Golden Skeleton knows that having his followers dressed in ridiculous outfits is the way to go, along with having hot babes standing beside you. This is real supervillainry, folks!
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.
Muk Lan-Fa (Suet Nei) – Dark Heroine is darker and more heroine than ever! In the previous film she had a gimmick gun that was a switchblade, this time her gimmick gun has knockout gas like she’s the Green Hornet. But unlike The Green Hornet, her film is good!
Muk Sau-Jan (Law Oi-Seung) – The li’l Dark Heroine is also back as her role of Robin to the Dark Knight. Although more on camera in this film, she does less and doesn’t even get kidnapped!
Ko Cheung (Kenneth Tsang Kong) – Supercop Ko Cheung is also around to be the cop who should be shot dead a thousand times over with all the ridiculous stunts he pulls.
Bald Gang Leader(Lee Ying) – The local leader of the Black Dragon Gang, who often wears an overly-padded suit and a pantyhose mask as a disguise. Despite the fact that disguises nothing and he often is seen by the same people seconds before not wearing the disguise. Lee Ying appeared in at least 130 films, including the greatest film ever made, Fantasy Mission Force!
Eyepatch (David Chow Wing-Kwong) – I never caught this guy’s name, but David Chow Wing-Kwong is in all three Dark Heroine films as a goon (not uncommon), but in this film he loses an eye halfway through, causing him to wear an eyepatch for the rest of the movie. And in the third film, he shows up wearing an eyepatch! Thus, we’ve declared him the same character in all three movies. This is now Dark Heroine canon, as per our cannon pointed at anyone who disagrees. David Chow Wing-Kwong went on to be a very prolific lighting guy.