k«La (1992)
Deadly Dream Woman

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 03/21/2009
Summary: Guns and lipstick

Under the opening credits in "Deadly Dream Woman" there is an extreme close-up of bright red lipstick being applied by a masked avenger type who turns out to be Sharla Cheung. It is a not very notable entry in the “Girls with guns” genre, although these girls—Sharla, who plays Nightingale and her sidekick Cuckoo—are very skilful with knives, fists and feet as well as firearms with some well done action scenes giving way to unfunny comedy, vicious sexual violence and dull exposition.

The movie begins with a meeting of triad elders. Jaguar, played by Ken Lo as more annoying than menacing, is younger and more casually dressed than the other bosses. He is late, disrespectful and flippant excusing his tardiness because he was busy screwing a foreign girl. Jaguar is denounced for stealing weapons that were marked for delivery in Vietnam and things look bad for him when one of his underlings is dragged before the meeting, having been beaten until he confessed and implicated his boss. But while untrustworthy, he is a whiz at organization. Just when things seem darkest for him some of his henchmen arrive at the front door pretending to be police officers while others burst through the skylight in the ceiling and rappel into the room shooting as they descend.

Nightingale and Cuckoo are at the meeting because Mr. Yip, the chairman, is their godfather and wishes them to help deal with Jaguar’s perfidy. The fighting femmes are able to kill a few score of bad guys but run out of bullets and knives at the same time that Mr. Yip is shot through the head. They make their escape pursued by some of the surviving thugs and jump into a waiting boat. Cuckoo is shot dead and Nightingale knocked unconscious and falls into the boat as it drifts away.

So far, so good but we are only about ten minutes into the movie.

The scene shifts to a yacht where a bunch of well born louts are entertaining Witch and her gaggle of good-time girls. The hosts are no match for the streetwise ladies who take all their money, most of their clothing and set them adrift in a lifeboat tied hand and foot. While scanning the sea for the customers, Witch and Jane (Chingmy Yau) see our heroine in her boat, still out cold. They drag her onto the yacht and discover a few things about her. One is that she has amnesia; another is that she is wealthy based on her couture clothing and accessories. Not knowing her name they decide that Chanel would fit since it is such a recognizable luxury brand. She is also strikingly beautiful so Witch decides the best thing for her is to work as a woman of negotiable virtue in a club until they find out who she is and then negotiate a huge reward from her rich parents. This is especially useful to Witch who is an ardent but completely unsuccessful gambler and who owes money to loan sharks all over Hong Kong—she can use Chanel’s earning to hold off the thugs until she figures out who she is and then make her big score. This part of the movie drags badly, enlivened only when a few small time hoodlums arrive to intimidate on of the girls. Jane rushes out with a broom and swings it around ineffectually but then Nightingale jumps into the fray and knocks out the aggressors.

A heavy thumb on the fast forward button will pay dividends for most of the movie including most of the scenes in the club. Things don’t get moving again until the big fight at the end of the movie which is fast, brutal and satisfying. Nightingale has reinforcements—her twin sister from America has arrived to help and Jacky Cheung, who seemed to be a mute auto mechanic turns out to be a former triad heavy who Jaguar hates. The three of them along with some assistance from Jane and the girls plus an unexplained bunch of gun wielding helpers (they just show up) shoot, blow up and impale several platoons of Jaguar’s men. He is dispatched in a fittingly bloody fashion.

The action choreography in “Deadly Dream Woman” is excellent and the editing of the fights was seamless. Sharla Cheung was very well doubled and she was fit enough and hit action poses well enough to convince us that she was laying waste to the bad guys. Other than that and some lovely shots of Chingmy Yau in a very short skirt there isn’t much to recommend here.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/24/2003

A Triad bodyguard known as Nightingale Wong (Chueng Man) loses her memory after fighting off a thug named Jaguar (Lo) who double-crosses his boss. Nightingale ends up drifting on the sea, where she is picked up by a friendly madam and her daughter (Yau). The two think she is a rich heiress, dub her Chanel, and soon put her to work as a "hostess" (hooker) at a local club until they can find her family and convince them to cough up some money. One night at the club, Chanel meets up with Jaguar and her memory slowly begins to return. Teaming up with Yau's boyfriend Jacky Chueng, she goes after Jaguar.

Deadly Dream Woman kicks off with a raucous action sequence and then turns into a strange romantic comedy, then quickly turns serious again with a gruesome rape sequence. It should probably come as no surprise that this movie was written (and some say co-directed) by Wong Jing, who's long been known for jumbling together genres. While I usually enjoy Wong's work, I found myself bored during many points in this movie. There are some good bits during the comedy portion of the film, such as a parody of the "Taoist rap" from A Chinese Ghost Story and Wong Jing himself making a funny cameo as the sleazy head of a club. Ken Lo also gives a suitably smarmy performance as Jaguar, and you won't have to deal with Jacky Cheung's trademark overacting, since he plays a mute character.

But for the most part, the middle forty-five minutes of the film just feel like filler in between the action sequences at the beginning and the end of the film. They're actually quite good, though Ken Lo does look a bit silly trying to fight in a bright red bathrobe during the finale. If the rest of Deadly Dream Woman could have maintained the manic pacing of these sequences, we could have had a classic on our hands, instead of this okay movie. It's nothing worth rushing out to see, but if you have a thing for women superheroes, then you might want to give Deadly Dream Woman a try.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Cheung Man stars as a superwoman out to avenge her foster fathersmurder.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Cheung Man is masked superheroine Nightingale Wong, the gorgeous daughter of a triad boss who, in the course of a hasty retreat, bumps her head and gets amnesia. Groan. Sexy Ching (Chingmy Yau) nurses her back to health. After bumping her head again, she regains her memory and wipes out the villains with the help of some triad pals. Since it has only two well-staged fights, one at the beginning and one at the end, this flick is an excellent candidate for the fast-forward button. But use the pause button whenever Cheung Man appears.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 5