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Review In the Line of Duty a.k.a. Royal Warriors a.k.a. Wong ga jin si (1986): Relentless action drama!

genre: action, drama, martial arts







The title suggests that In the Line of Duty is the first in the Hong Kong film series but in truth is the follow up to Yes, Madam featuring Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock. Unnecessary confusing. Blame the people who marketed these films back in the day. (I remember having a discussion with a video rental shop owner regarding titles like these since he was trying to convince me some older Jackie Chan films were newly produced films. Me being a huge fan of course knew they weren't. Hence discussion started. How I miss those days of browsing through the videos and engaging into conversations about films.) Not that it matters that much since this is more a sequel in spirit then actually related to the original. So how does this follow up fare?

I guess they thought the original was a little too silly sometimes so they toned down the comedy bits considerably and it is pretty much a serious affair throughout except for some Michael Wong antics. They did not even bother to give his character a name which is so hilarious since at one point they even make fun of his poor acting. You know what, he might not be one of the best actors around but most of the time he does his characters and the story justice and is very functional. Like in here he is supposed to play a lovesick puppy 2 seconds after he meets Michelle Yip (Michelle Yeoh). He basically stalks her constantly which is very creepy if you give it any thought. However his good looks and charm makes him get away with it and believe it or not it even provides one of the most emotional scenes in the film. Not saying that it made a lot of sense but it sure was effectively melodramatic giving the exact context for the action to be more exciting. This film is filled with brutal and relentless action where you never are sure how it is going to end up. While it is not gory by any means it is not afraid to damage stuff and kill off people. Especially in two scenes it will get to you since prior to that time has been taken for you to get to know the characters involved. Very simple plot device but so very effective. Michelle Yeoh is not the only big name in this production. She gets accompanied by Hiroyuki Sanada. A younger Sanada who like Michelle is doing most of them stunts and martial arts scenes themselves. And all of it is very impressive. He and Hong Kong seem like a good fit and makes me wonder why he wasn't in more of them apart from this, Ninja in the Dragon's Den. He did star in The Promise. But that was a Chinese production.

Overall this is one of the best in the film series and one that still rocks today. 




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