'Midnight Angels' (US video version of 'Angel')

Angel

AKA: Iron Angels, Fighting Madam, Midnight Angels, Midnite Angels

1986

Directors: Raymond Leung, Tony Leung Siu-Hung, Ivan Lai

Action directors: Tony Leung Siu-Hung, Ivan Lai

Stars: Moon Lee, Yukari Oshima, Elaine Lui, Waise Lee, Hwang Jang Lee

After an international police force destroys their opium fields, a crime family led by Yukari Oshima and Hwang Jang Lee begin to ruthlessly kill cops all over Asia. Desperate for help, a US DEA agent (Waise Lee) suggests that the cops hire a rogue group known as the Iron Angels.

One of the best examples of the "girls-with-guns" genre, Angel packs in tons of action of both the kung-fu and gun-fu variety. The script's not going to win any awards, and the pace could have been tighter -- but overall this is a great action film, propelled by Moon Lee (who plays one of the Angels) and Yukari Oshima's excellent performances. Oshima, in particular, is spectacular as a sadistic villain in the movie. Her performance alone is reason enough to see this movie -- when you add in that she's in some inventive action sequences featuring exploding shirt buttons and acid-squirting bracelets, then you have the makings of a good night's entertainment. The only bit I could have done without is Elaine Lui's ditzy performance as the money-hungry, bumbling Angel. According to the documentary Deadly China Dolls, Lui didn't feel comfortable doing action scenes, and it shows. She sticks out like a sore thumb.

RATING: 8

Note: there are many different US video versions about which may confuse you. For instance, Arena's new version is labeled Midnight Angels, but is titled Midnite Angels in the film (the box art is from another Moon/Yukari movie, Avenging Quartet). Yukari Oshima is billed as Cynthia Luster on the box, but as Oshima Yukari in the movie...Moon Lee is labeled as such on the box, but as Mona Lee in the film...you get the idea. There is also an additional scene at the beginning of the movie (probably put in to cover up what they cut out from the rest of the movie) from Angel 3. Confusing matters is that there is another Yukari Oshima film called Midnight Angel, which is not related to this movie in any way. At any rate, you should just seek out the HK version instead, since the US versions are cut for violence.

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