REVIEW: Drugs Fighters (1995)

drugsfighters

Hong-kong-icon

1995, Suntec Studios (H.K.) Ltd.

Director:
Yiu Tin-Hung
Writer:
Benny Tam
Cinematography:
Napoleon Pang
Editing:
Yiu Tin-Hung

Cast:
Yukari Oshima (Yi Chian)
Lam Wai (Feng Shiu)
Chui Siu-Kin (Cheng Chie)
Yuen Wah (Lin Chia-Teng)
Collin Chou (Li Fan)
Ken Lo (Brother San)
Alan Chui (Ko Pang-Fei)
Hsiao Ho (Fei’s Thug)
Kei Ho-Chiu (Chiang Fu-Lang)
Wang Binmei (Wu Chun-Han)
Chow Lai-Ping (Wu’s Secretary)
Chen Li-Hua (Feng’s Mother)

Despite top billing, Collin Chou only gets minimal screen time as this is truly a Yukari Oshima action thriller about the drug trade in China.

In the port city of Hangzhou, Lin Chia-Teng has arrived from Hong Kong with a purpose. He is the owner of a statue factory that is actually a front for smuggling drugs in the port. To accomplish this, he hires Wu Chun-Han to buy a small company to act as a “supplier” to the statue company so they can successfully smuggle the drugs. When San, one of Wu’s men, finds himself busted by local traffic officers Li Fan and Yi Chian, investigator Feng Shiu thanks the duo but en route to prison, San is brutally murdered in an ambush.

This angers Wu’s husband, Ko Pang-Fei, who vows revenge for San. Meanwhile, when Wu’s cohort Lung runs into reformed addict Chiang Fu-Lang, things are about to get worse. When Chiang asks Lung for money one night, Chiang finds a bag of cocaine and accidentally overdoses on it. Learning of the ramifications, the Hangzhou police sets up a special task force with Feng, Yi, and Feng’s protégé Chang Chie as the team. When Chiang’s wife is kidnapped, Brother Fei sets up an ambush to kill Yi and Feng. However, when Fei is killed in the shootout, Wu vows revenge and despite Lin teeling her not to act rashly, she does the unthinkable and it is now up to Yi, Chang, and Feng to stop Wu and eventually Lin once and for all.

In the 80’s and 90’s, fans were treated to loads of standardized action films that featured some of the top names of the genre because it was the big thing. In the subgenre, beginning with 1985’s Yes Madam! We were introduced to the “Girls with Guns” subgenre and with 1986’s Angel, we were introduced to Yukari Oshima, who would have a successful career playing both heroes and villain roles in these films. This 1995 action film is truly a Yukari Oshima film as she has the most prominent role in the film alongside veteran Lam Wai, who plays one of her partners in this thriller involving the drug trade.

While he gets top billing in the film, sadly Collin Chou is relegated to having a minimal role in Li Fan, a local traffic officer who also happens to be Oshima’s boyfriend in the film. He does get involved in the film’s opening fight sequence with Oshima against Ken Lo of Drunken Master II fame. Sadly, Lo and Chou ultimately have wasted roles and despite this short fight sequence, their roles are more there for perhaps star power at the time. However, on the upside Lam Wai and Chui Siu-Kin offer ample and kick-butt support as Oshima’s partners in this thriller.

While it is great to see Hsiao Ho in a modern day film, he too is wasted as one of the thugs of revenge seeking Ko Pang-Fei. Yuen Wah doesn’t make an impact until the finale of the film, only appearing sporadically in the film. A true villain comes in the form of Wu Binmei’a Wu Chun-Han, who is not so much a femme fatale, but is Lin’s main contact in Hangzhou and she purely is evil as seen in the film. She does the unthinkable in not only defying her boss’s orders all in the name of revenge, but she does something that triggers rage in a central character. However, the central character, rather than wanting to kill for revenge, smartly decides to go the moral route and would rather see the deadly woman arrested and jailed.

Drugs Fighters is a run of the mill Hong Kong action film yet it is below standard due to wasted efforts from the likes of Collin Chou, Ken Lo, and Yuen Wah. Thankfully, Yukari Oshima is the film’s true star and saving grace from making this a complete disaster.

WFG RATING: C-

VHS

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