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Review She Shoots Straight a.k.a. Huang jia nu jiang (1990)

genre: action, girls with guns

Easily one of the best titles in the girls with guns genre. Two main reasons for this are Joyce Godenzi and the direction of Corey Yuen.

Corey Yuen shows what a difference it makes to have a competent director at the helm. He knows how to direct action and how to tell a story good enough to give the action the context that is needed. It makes the incredibly well choreographed action even more exciting. She Shoots Straight is a nice balance of action and storytelling where time is taken to get to know the important characters. This does mean though that there are only a few action sequences. However these action scenes are worth it every second. They are stylish, exhilarating and a lot of fun. Joyce Godenzi (Sammo Hung's wife who has no martial arts background whatsoever) is impressive since she adequately pulls off some nice moves and stunts. And yes I am not going to deny that besides her skills it is a joy to watch her in action since she is very beautiful. But she is in good company because her on screen sisters are just as lethal as she is. ( I am almost sure that some social justice warriors will find a lot of nonsensical reasons and arguments to dispute that women in action roles do not represent empowerment. But what do they know? It requires quite some skill and talent to perform stunts and martial arts of this level. Whether you are a man or a woman it's equally impressive.) 

She Shoots Straight is far from a masterpiece and certainly has it's flaws. One of them is not enough exposure for the main villain played by Wah Yuen who most people will know from Kung Fu Hustle. The other huge flaw is the over the top melodrama. It sinks to soap opera level many times and can be very hard to stomach since it does not really make sense for these adult women to cry and whine like little baby girls. It's a huge contrast compared to they way they act and perform as cops. On the other hand this drama does provide the emotional context to intensify the action scenes. And that for me certain is a big plus. While I personally did not see it as a flaw it might disappoint some fans that Sammo Hung barely does any action scenes. But since this film was meant as a Joyce Godenzi vehicle it is understandable why he avoided the lime light.

A must watch if you are a fan of the genre.

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