Angel’s Project – Not Knowing Your Strengths

Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Action/ Martial Arts/ Bullet Ballet/ Girls With Guns/ Comedy
Director: Cheung Ho-Tak
Year: 1993

Rating: ★★★☆☆

TRASH CINEMA RECOMMENDED MOVIE

Angels Project starts out strong and progressively gets weaker. That’s a shame because Angels Project had a lot of potential.

The first thing that leaps out at you is the superb martial arts in the first half of the picture, courtesy of martial arts choreographers Benny Lai and Cheung Ho-Tak plus athletic performers like Moon Lee, Sibelle Hu, Benny Lai, Cheng Chu-Fung, Cheung Ho-Tak, Cliff Lok, and Mark Houghton.

There’s also some decent character writing for Sibelle Hu’s character. She’s a typical tough as nails Hong Kong cop, but she’s a city girl. When she’s forced to trek through the boonies after a suspect, she’s completely out of her element. Sibelle Hu, director Cheung Ho-Tak and screenwriters Lo Gin and Garry Chan have some fun with that.

But that pretty much exhausts my praise.

Director Cheung Ho-Tak’s pacing is taut enough that it’s not until you’re halfway through the movie that you start to give up on it. The main trouble is that the writers haven’t bothered to write a real story here. They don’t have much more than a basic situation.

Right out of the gate, five poor triad schmucks get garrotted, shot or stabbed and director Cheung Ho-Tak is kind enough to be generous with the blood packs, but we never find out why.

Then Cliff Lok and a bunch of other cops corner some gunrunners at the docks and a firefight ensues, but two outliers, a Malaysian girl and a gweilo (Mark Houghton) attack the gunrunners. Were they the ones who were killing off the triad types? Possibly. Who knows?

Ultimately, Cliff Lok captures the Malaysian girl. She has the standard incriminating disk on her. Cliff Lok assigns Sibelle Hu and Moon Lee to hand over the Malaysian girl and the disk to the authorities in Malaysia, but it turns out the police lieutenant in charge of the case, Jimmy Lung, is crooked.

And we’re off to the races. See what I mean? It’s just not well thought out.

For a while, the superb martial arts covers a multitude of sins, but then other types of action start to predominate, and that’s when Angel’s Project really starts to unravel. The first indication that the picture is heading into the toilet is possibly the lamest car chase I’ve ever seen. No joke, it looked like the cars were barreling along a scary speed of thirty miles an hour. Just ridiculous. Sadly, the gun battles are the standard point and shoot affairs common in these ultra cheap Hong Kong productions.

I perked up a little when jungle traps became part of the narrative, but the filmmakers let us down there, too. If you want to see a good use of jungle traps some time, check out She Shoots Straight.

To tell you the truth, Angels Project is a lousy film made bearable by the charisma of Moon Lee, Sibelle Hu and Jimmy Lung, plus a heap of blistering martial arts, and a little bit of decent character comedy.

For me, Angels Project squeaks by with a bare recommendation, but don’t expect a good film.

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