In the Line of Duty | aka Royal Warriors (1986) Review

"In the Line of Duty" Chinese Theatrical Poster

“In the Line of Duty” Chinese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Police Assassins
Director: David Chung Chi-Man
Producer: Dickson Poon Dik-Sun
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Sanada Hiroyuki, Michael Wong, Pai Ying, Chan Wai Man, David Lam Wai, Gam Hing Yin, Kenneth Tsang, Ninna Reiko, Chen Jing, Dennis Chan
Running Time: 85 min.

By Numksull

Michelle Yeoh, with short hair, fights a bunch of people. Henry Sanada, with a big stuffed bunny rabbit, fights a bunch of people. Michael Wong, with a persistent hard-on for Michelle, makes a total ass of himself. Oh well, I guess two out of three isn’t bad.

All in all this is a pretty good flat-out action flick, but there are some parts that could use some spit polish. “Magic” is an insufficient explanation for loaded guns bypassing airport security. Michael Wong’s tireless efforts to win Michelle’s heart (or at least get her in the sack) take up too much time. And worst of all, the villains’ motivations go beyond far-fetched and into the realm of sheer absurdity. It seems four guys who served in Vietnam became good friends and swore to never let anyone split them up. Many years later, one of them commits a murder for some reason (don’t ask), and his buddies use their vow as a license to snatch him from the law’s hands and blow away anyone, cop or civilian, who crosses their path. Or is related to someone they tried to blow away before but couldn’t. Or just happens to be standing around doing nothing. Don’t you wish YOU had friends like that?

Michelle is fun to watch as usual, and Henry Sanada is good too. Alas, the villains are less notable, with the last survivor having some unbearably cheesy diabolical laughter (dubbed so it’s not his fault, but cheesy nonetheless). And he’s a liar to boot; in one scene he tells Michael: “You’re a terrible actor.” (Michael Wong, a terrible actor? No way!)

Speaking of Mikey, Royal Warriors has one of his most memorable scenes to date. It’s an intense, heart-to-heart dialogue with a very, very special co-star. Finally, Michael Wong has found someone who shares his level of dramatic skill and knack for passionate performances: his pet goldfish. A round of applause (clap either your hands or your fins) for Mr. Wong and his aquatic friend if you please, ladies and gentlemen…thank you.

The fights and action scenes in this movie are pretty good…just good enough so that they seem too short, unfortunately. But at least they’re spaced well. Michelle’s tool shed duel, which is excellent at conveying a sense of frantic desperation, tops things off very nicely.

The body count here is pretty high so don’t watch this movie with the young ‘uns, and avoid it if you have a low threshold for violence. Me, I like it. Death and blood and hate and more death. Yeah, baby. Almost any HK film fan should get a kick out of this.

Numskull’s Rating: 7/10

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