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Review Killer Angels a.k.a. Ultra Force 1 a.k.a. Sha shou tian shi (1989): A little average!

genre: girls with guns, bullet ballet, gun fu, martial arts

Within the first minute of the film you get to witness several people being brutally killed by Michael played by Gordon Liu. It then cuts to the title with some credits and a new action sequence ensues. So it does look like a very promising start.

Unfortunately the film never really makes good on this promise. Most of the action is solid and very well choreographed. But you are never really given the time to get invested in them since they are over before you know it. On top of that you aren't really made to care about what occurs. And that is weird since they obviously tried to make events more compelling. There are at least two subplots within the main plot and I personally was more interested in one of the subplots concerning Gordon Liu. At the same time it's one that I found to be completely distracting and unnecessary since in hindsight it never goes anywhere. Basically it's filler. Liu's character carries a picture of a younger Yau Li (Moon Lee) and goes out of his way to protect her even knowing she is after his boss who he also feels very loyal to. They only never explain why she is important to him. If you ask me this should have been the main plot since it would have been more fun to see Gordon Liu struggle and kick ass together with Moon Lee.

The main plot is as simple as you expect. A special police force named Blue Angels are tasked to track down and apprehend the mysterious leader of this super criminal organization. Most likely this title wanted to cash in on the popularity and succes of the Iron Angels. Too bad it doesn't even come close to the classic. One of the ways to find about the leader is through a despicable character named Jackie Chan. As you can guess I sadly was forced to watch the dubbed version since it's almost impossible to find the original version. Now I don't know if this was a joke from director Tony Liu (no relation to Gordon) or this was a joke from the people who dubbed it. Whether it was intentional or unintentional, it's hilarious. The character who plays him is nothing like the real Jackie Chan so naturally you can't help but wonder what the intention was. Anyway, there is one memorable scene where Jackie continually hits on one of the agents played by Kingdom Yuen King-Tan and is fed up with his behaviour and beats the crap out of him.

Another subplot that gets mixed in within the main story also is tied to the character named Jackie Chan and new angel on the block, Amy (played by Yuen Hung). Her son got killed in front of her eyes and she wants revenge. Like so badly that she is willing to battle her team mates. To be honest this subplot was a bit much and also far too distracting. I would have been OK with her fighting everybody just because she felt like it. She seemed extremely skilled in martial arts.

Overall Tony Lui probably was far too ambitious for his own good. He should have focused on the action and bring us more of that instead of trying to create drama. So is this worth your time? It's solid enough to give it a chance but you do need to turn down expectations significantly.

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