Murders Made To Order (HK 1993)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/1/02
Cast: Maggie Shaw, Waise Lee, cameo by Cynthia Khan

Whew! It only took me five years to track down this Cynthia Khan obscurity, which is the sequel to "Sting Of The Scorpion" (1992). Sadly, she's only in the first three minutes of the film. The movie starts off with a bang as Cynthia Khan assassinates a gang leader in a blatant rip-off of the restaurant sequence in "La Femme Nikita" (1990). Then the movie shifts to the character of Chi (tough girl Maggie Shaw) who has been locked away in a mental institution for the last two years as a result of the events in the first film. Her even more mentally disturbed friend, Inspector Cheng, releases her from the hospital on the condition that she goes on an undercover police mission for him (which is all just an elaborate ruse). Chi agrees, and takes on a job as a hostess where she befriends all the right underworld connections, but at the cost of becoming a heroin addict. After cleaning up her act, she gets enlisted as an assassin, only to be double-crossed by her boss. By the end of the film, everyone wants her dead. Can she possibly survive?

Apart from the disappointing fact that Cynthia Khan has such a tiny role, this is an entertaining no-nonsense actioner full of betrayal and angst. Maggie Shaw is perfect for the role of Chi. She's a tight little bundle of female fury just waiting to explode. Very feminine, but definitely a bit rough around the edges. And on top of that, a life of hardship and heartbreak has left her bitter and jaded. Perfect female assassin material... Her performance is raw and intense, and her action scenes are wonderful. The film is competently made, but rather disjointed here and there. It also relies too much on flashbacks from "Sting Of The Scorpion," which seems more like a cost cutting measure than a plot device. And like many of the other Mandarin DVDs I've watched, the audio remastering is terrible.