Princess Madam (HK 1989)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/21/99
Cast: Moon Lee, Sharon Yeung, Michiko Nishiwaki, Kenneth Tsang, Mark Houghton

At last! After three years of searching for this movie, my Moon Lee collection is complete! (or at least as complete as I intend it to be) This is another "make it up as you go" action movie featuring adorable Moon Lee and Sharon Yeung as police officers who are in charge of protecting a female witness from a nasty crime boss. The villain sends his motorcycle gang out to kill the witness, but Moon and Sharon foil his attempts and kill the leader of the gang. The film then shifts gears as manipulative bitch Michiko Nishiwaki shows up to take revenge for her murdered lover. She seduces and attempts to steal Moon Lee's boyfriend away from her, and in a great role reversal scene Moon storms into Michiko's office and warns her to stop picking on her boyfriend. Michiko then springs her trap and leaves poor Moon dangling from the ceiling and right on top of a bomb that's about to go off. Lucky for her, Sharon comes to the rescue and she and Moon duke it out with Michiko in glorious femme fatale fashion. With Michiko out of the picuture, the movie takes another radical turn when Sharon finds out that her adopted father (Kenneth Tsang) is involved with the nasty triad boss. Something snaps and she decides to kill the witness that she and Moon have been protecting. Then, when the villain kills Sharon's father, she arms herself to the teeth and launches a one-woman assault on the bad guy's construction site. (It's nice to see someone running into a firefight with protective clothing for a change!) When the situation becomes hopeless for her, Moon Lee shows up to lend a hand and the two of them wage an all-out war against the triad boss and his legion of goons. Sharon finally empties a clip into the villain at the cost of her life - such is the price for vengeance.

Standard B-movie action fare with above average action. As always, getting to see Moon Lee beat the crap out of a bunch of bad guys is a total treat, and Sharon Yeung sees a fair amount of heavy hitting action as well. The fighting is very good as the girls get to dish out a good deal of kung fu and gunplay, and even get to perform some staff and sword work as well. Unfortunately, where the film really falls apart is in its complete lack of a sense of direction. And whenever the movie is trying to figure out where to go next, we're treated to stupid and unfunny humor courtesy of Sharon's dorky boyfriend. Why Sharon, why? However, most of my complaints about the film concern the horrible VCD transfer. First of all, it's not letterboxed or subtitled - bummer. There's also a faint echo of the Mandarin soundtrack in the Cantonese track, and worst of all, there's a real-time mosaic mask that comes up during the two or three sex scenes in the film. It's absolutely awful to watch some guy drag around and resize this mask whenever a naked breast pops up, and it usually lingers a few seconds into the following scene. Just dreadful. It would have been far better to just cut those scenes altogether.

Notes On The DVD Release: Fortunately, the DVD version is much better than the VCD, which was the only way to find this movie for many years. It's still not letterboxed or subtitled, but it's uncensored and the audio is clean.