Angel The Kickboxer (HK 1993)

Rating: *(*)
Alternate Title: Honor And Glory (US title), Angel Of Kickboxer (US Title)
Review Date: 10/25/09
Director: Godfrey Ho
Cast: Robin Shou, Cynthia Rothrock, Yukari Oshima, Donna Jason, Waise Lee, Pauline Chan

Mix and match director Godfrey Ho is at it again with what appears to be at least two different unfinished films incoherently spliced together. The ridiculous title is also grounds for a lot of confusion, as the film was released in the US as both "Honor And Glory" and "Angel Of Kickboxer," which is the also the US release name for "A Punch To Revenge" (1989). No wonder it took me so long to find this film.

Trying to summarize the film is challenging, as characters come and go, plot elements come and go, and the story jumps back and forth between Hong Kong and The United States. The only continuity appears to be Robin Shou, since he's the only one who appears in both places with all of the other characters. The two major (and unrelated) plots involve a corporate bank fraud and a stolen cruise missile. Robin Shou and Cynthia Rothrock are CIA agents investigating the missile case, and Shou is also helping out CID officer Yukari Oshima with the bank case. He's a busy guy who seems to get into fights with everyone he meets, but that's fine by me because he's a damn good fighter. Laughably, everyone in the film seems to be a kung fu master, including Rothrock's TV reporter sister, Donna Jason. Even Waise Lee's complacent trophy girlfriend (Pauline Chan) has some kung fu treachery up her sleeves. Speaking of the tragically beautiful Ms. Chan, she amusingly has only one outfit to wear in the entire show. Not surprisingly, the film has two climaxes: a kung fu showdown in a warehouse with the American characters, and a kung fu showdown at Waise Lee's house back in Hong Kong with the Chinese characters. The film ends so incredibly abruptly and without resolution that it can cause mental whiplash if you're not prepared. Quite literally, Pauline Chan says to Robin Shou "wait, let me get the evidence" and then the film just stops. Cut! That's a wrap!

There are really only two reasons to watch this travesty, and those are Robin Shou and Yukari Oshima. Shou's fight scenes are quick, fluid, graceful, precise, and hard hitting. It's a joy to watch him move. An impishly cute Yukari Oshima is also in top form and dishes out some impressive damage, which is quite satisfying. The Chinese stunt performers are also quite good at taking a beating from these two. Unfortunately, this is the weakest performance I've ever seen from Cynthia Rothrock, and if I didn't know any better, it would be easy to dismiss her as an inexperienced amateur. Even Donna Jason's and Pauline Chan's fight scenes are executed better. Overall, the film is a disjointed collection of senseless plot elements and passable martial arts brawling, and sometimes that's all you need to be entertained. A guilty pleasure at best.