Lethal Panther (HK 1990)

Rating: ***
Alternate Title: Deadly China Dolls
Director: Godfrey Ho
Cast: Maria Jo (Yuen Chi Wai), Yoko Miyamoto, Sibelle Hu, Lawrence Ng, Alex Fong

A tale of loyalty, betrayal, and honor among thieves with more than a passing nod to John Woo's "The Killer" (1989). Maria Jo and Yoko Miyamoto are professional female assassins whose most recent jobs are to kill each other. CIA agent Sibelle Hu is busy trying to track them down and break up a currency counterfeiting operation at the same time, while villainous Alex Fong tries his hardest to look like Chow Yun Fat. This is far from great film making, and is more like a collection of well orchestrated set pieces stuck together with little regard for continuity. There are, however, some excellent girls with guns sequences, accented with some awesome slow-mo posing shots. The score is ripped off from several films including "The Big Heat" (1988) and the "In The Line Of Duty" series. Maria Jo's performance burns with fierce intensity and she dominates every scene that she's in. (My god is she hot!) Sibelle Hu is cute (albeit with a silly haircut), and although she tries really hard, she is unconvincing as a tough chick. The only downer is that the film is marred by a handful of unnecessary and gratuitously sleazy sex scenes. Overall, a guilty pleasure.