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Devil Hunters
(aka Ultra Force 2)
1989; directed by Tony Liu

At the time of its release, Devil Hunters became famous (or perhaps infamous) as the film that nearly killed Sibelle Hu and Moon Lee because of a botched stunt. While the flawed pyrotechnics certainly provides a curiosity factor, the core movie itself is actually pretty good, being a solid representation of late 80's-early 90's "girls with guns" action cinema.

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The plot (delivered via a script penned by director Tony Liu) is a bit too convoluted for its own good, but, basically, it boils down to Sibelle Hu and Moon Lee trying to take down smarmy zoot-suited Triad boss Francis Ng. Sure, the weight of the exposition scenes is lighter than the gin-stained cocktail napkins they were scrawled on. But with a cast that includes a sizable list of "golden age" Hong Kong action cinema favorites like Ray Lui, Alex Man, Michael Chan, and Ken Lo, plus many "hey, it's that guy" actors, do we really care?

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The answer, dear readers, is (as you might expect) no. Especially in this day and age of over glossed CGI stuffed cinema, it was truly refreshing to watch a film that employed the skills of the talent involved, rather than vast amounts of aftermarket tweaking, to deliver excitement. Besides the climatic explosion, some of the other stuntwork involved here is cringe-worthy in a good way, as in "how the hell did that guy jump down three floors and still run off?" or perhaps more importantly "why the hell did that guy jump down three floors and still run off?"

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That, my friends, is the essence of classic Hong Kong action cinema, where every production, even under the radar releases such as this, seemed to go for broke in the most insane ways possible. Some would postulate that the onscreen results are perhaps not worth potentially maiming the talent involved. Possibly -- but even the most jaded critic would be hard-pressed to admit that the end product isn't fun to watch.


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