Red Fists (HK 1991)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/4/17
Martial Arts Choreography: Yu Rong Guang
Cast: Sharon Kwok, Yu Rong Guang, Mark Houghton

"You're just a capitalist hypocrite!"

Wong Tai (Yu Rong Guang) is an undercover cop from China working on a counterfeit money case. When he follows a lead to Hong Kong, he's arrested by a Hong Kong police inspector named Sharon (Sharon Kwok). The HK police don't want Wong messing around on their turf, so they assign Sharon to keep an eye on him by being his tour guide for a few days (which was a common plot device at the time). Naturally, Wong escapes and causes trouble, but the tables turn when they both end up working together in China. The prolonged climax features the bad guys threatening to drop Wong's son out of a helicopter if they don't hand over the counterfeit printing plates.

It's nice to see Sharon Kwok cultivate her tough cop action persona and she looks great doing it. She's a terrible fighter, but she handles a gun with confidence and I admire her intensity, energy, and enthusiasm. Yu Rong Guang is in top form and is another under-appreciated B-list actor who never quite hit the big time. His fight scenes are fast, furious, and fun to watch, and he performs some impressive falls as well. A lot of the stunts in the film look very painful and dangerous, which is a somber reminder of the state of the industry in days long past. It's also one of the things that makes Hong Kong cinema so refreshing, edgy, and unique.

The film looks pretty good for its obviously limited budget, and Sharon Kwok and Yu Rong Guang make a charismatic team. The formulaic story is weak and the requisite bad dubbing doesn't do the material any favors. The soundtrack is a mix-and-match mess of whatever clips the filmmakers could find, including music from "Queen's High" (1990). In the late 80's and early 90's, nearly all Hong Kong action films were shot at the same locations and used the same music. It's an endearing hallmark of the B-movie genre, and lets you know exactly what you're in for.