Monday, March 22, 2010

CHINA HEAT (1992) - 3/5 stars

Release: 1992
Director: William Chang, Yang Yang
Writer: William Cheung Kei, Goo Siu-Yin, Naam Fung
Cast: Sibelle Hu, Alan Lan, Sherry Han, Cindy Mong, Michael Despasquale Jr., Sophia Crawford, Mark Houghton, Meredith MacRae, Roosevelt Jackson
Soundtrack: ?
Claim to fame: it's safe to say that this film is so obscure it has no claim to fame, at least not in America; though it could be said it fits into the "girls-with-guns" subgenre of Hong Kong action movies
Rating: 3/5 stars

"China Heat" is an early 90's Hong Kong action flick, featuring copious girls-with-guns, martial arts fighting, and pratfall stunts. But it's staged with such low-budget incompetence that it ends up less like the works John Woo and Jackie Chan, and more like something you'd see on Mystery Science Theater 3000. And you know what? That's okay with me.

I was in the mood for a bad movie the other night and "China Heat" more than fit the bill. The plot is ridiculous: remember how in the Van Damme "Street Fight" movie, the good guys were a generic UN-style peacekeeping force that actually went around the world, kicking butt and firing guns? "China Heat" is just like that, except the task force is comprised entirely of women (okay, there's ONE guy in the group).



They travel around the globe, fighting terrorists and drug dealers. And their idea of "negotiating" with terrorists is a bullet to the head, while dope smugglers are best handled with a swift karate kick.

This is within the opening 5 minutes of the movie


Yup, she's really riding a motorcycle on top of a plane

And as sillily-staged as much of it is - the bad guys stand there in sweat pants, legs braced, firing their guns like they actually want to be killed - it's a lot of fun, especially on an insomniac night while you're waiting for sleeping pills to kick in.


Talk about cannon fodder

Every actress in this movie is convincingly fast and knows how to to throw a punch or take a fall. Meanwhile, Michael Despasquale Jr. kinda looks like a low-rent, caveman version of David Duchovny from Brookyln.

Despasquale Jr. - a poor man's Duchovny, or Duchovny with a black belt?
I'll let you decide. I just like that his last name sounds like an Italian dish.


This screencap speaks for itself

For all of its ineptitude, "China Heat" will occasionally surprise you with a bravado moment: like when an undercover cop's head literally explodes from a gunshot wound


I bet you'd think a tiny gun like that wouldn't do much damage...


Whoa! Okay, holy shit, that seems a little overboard...

or the amazing camera POV from the passenger seat of Despasquale's car as he reverses down a line of bad guys and fires on them like he's at a shooting gallery.


First-person shooter

It also helps the film that lead actress Sibelle Hu has genuine cred in the Hong Kong industry: she starred in the popular "Inspectors Wear Skirts" series, as well as in several Jackie Chan flicks like "My Lucky Stars."

Sibelle Hu has developed a cult following
of people who love to watch tiny Chinese women kick ass

The entire movie is in Mandarin with easy-to-read English subtitles, and seeing New York cops speak in Mandarin certainly lends to the fever dream quality of the entire production.

"China Heat" moves at a fast clip and rarely do ten minutes go by without another action scene. If you're anything like me and you enjoy a "good" bad movie, especially ones with ridiculous 90's fashion, then you'll devour "China Heat."


"Of all the dojos in the world, she had to walk into mine..."

1 comment:

  1. Hmm so this is on instant right now, eh? I really need to watch this. Sounds like it'll be close to watching Riki Oh.