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Review Cheetah on Fire a.k.a. Lip pau hang tung (1992): Perfect film for a rainy Sunday!

genre: bullet ballet, martial arts, action

Cheetah on Fire has it all, lots of gun play, plenty of martial arts, beautiful and very capable women plus some weird and bizarre moments and despite all of this it's a very forgettable film.

First, if you are expecting this to be a Donnie Yen vehicle, you might be mistaken. For whatever reason, this is an ensemble film, with some known and very unknown actors all doing their part. Carrie Ng, Sharla Cheung and Eddie Kwan form a special team of agents who are on the hunt for a fugitive who carries a chip. Why they want this chip so bad is never explained. In their first big encounter with fugitive and baddies, things don't go so well. Enter Donnie Yen, who is going to spice up events somewhat.

So who are these baddies? Gordon Liu with hair, Ken Lo, Michael Woods, John Salvitti and many others. It's safe to say that Gordon without hair is so much more effective than with. But it's funny to see him like this. And it doesn't stop there. Normally, you would use some kind of anaesthesia to remove bullets safely. In this film, Gordon has sex with (I assume a hooker) and while he is orgasming, the medic removes the bullet. 

Michael Woods needs no instruction from Hong Kong producers and hams it up big time. Almost every scene he is in, he is telling you that he is bad to the bone and born to kill. No really, he has marked this on his arm in case it wasn't clear to you. I myself would question a leader who shoots their own man when they are hungry or made mistakes. But apparently that makes him a very beloved leader. In another scene, Eddy Ko is watching a music video featuring Paula Abdul. You would think that he is a connoisseur.  Then his girlfriend is interrupting him and Eddie is asking her to have him enjoy Madonna some more. I really hope this got lost in translation because the mix-up is immensely confusing.

The action itself is adequate. Enjoyable enough while it lasts, but not really memorable. It improves slightly in the finale and had it lasted a little longer then maybe I could have recommended this. As is, it's just average! Although, perfect film for a rainy Sunday.

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