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Review Devil Hunters a.k.a. Lie mo qun ying a.k.a. Megaforce 2 a.k.a. Ultra Force 2 a.k.a. Red Force 3 (1989)

genre: girls with guns, action, martial arts, gun fu

Like with a lot of titles in the girls with guns genre the distributors of this film found it necessary to change the original title for marketing purposes. Only in some occasions I could kind of understand why they did this since it did connect films that originally aren't connected. However most of the time it's preposterous and confusing. They probably are trying to trick the fans of the genre to make it seem like it's a new or good title why it's not. Devil Hunters unfortunately is one of the lesser titles.

Just so you know there are no devil's in this film nor are they hunting for them. If I can trust the English dubbing it's the code name for the special police force Sibelle Hu and Alex Man are part of. It would make sense if the film was about them. But they are merely one party of many the plot evolves around. The plot is simple. Main villain played by Francis Ng wants to get a hold of a large quantity of diamonds stolen by his boss. But instead of just doing it the easy way he comes up with this elaborate plan to confuse the hell out of everyone and make his boss the target without anyone knowing exactly why they are after him. They eventually find out but it is of very little consequence since none of it is particularly compelling. For the most part it's used to start up the action. And usually I am fine with that except they forgot to make the characters more interesting. You barely get to know any of them and whatever dialogue they have is minimal and obvious. 

Now most of you won't even care since these films are all about the action so what is the action like? Here is where I am really torn. There are many times where a lot of action scenes don't flow right. Just when the action is about to get engaging they cut to a non action scene and then start up a new action sequence that is over before you know it. Apart from the last 15 minutes all of the action sequences are edited like that. The action itself is pretty solid but you aren't really given the time and chance to enjoy it fully because of all those weird cuts. Only in the finale the action seems to flow much better but like the other action sequences was over before you knew it. They easily could have extended it since there were at least three opportunities that had potential for real dramatic impact. Instead director Tony Liu Chun-Ku opted to put all the emphasis on the final scene. In this scene the two of the three main characters are caught on fire while jumping out of the window to avoid the impact of an explosion. Because of a mistake (bad timing) both Moon Lee and Sibelle Hu were engulfed in flames and were badly injured because of this. Just when you thought these actresses couldn't be more badass. Eat your heart out Charlize Theron! The director expresses his admiration and gratitude for this and surely makes you appreciate the stunt however it would have been a far better pay off if the finale wasn't rushed through as it did. With the proper build up and better exploitation of those three moments in the finale the climax would have had bigger impact.

Even for fans Devil Hunters doesn't quite deliver the action goodness you want from these movies. (I prefer quality over quantity.) But it's the perfect film to watch late at night to wind down and fall asleep to.

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