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獵豹行動 (1992)
Cheetah on Fire

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 03/22/2009
Summary: A waste of acting talent

“Cheetah on Fire” is a terrible movie. The actors seem to be trying their best but the Royal Shakespeare Company couldn’t breathe life or even coherence into this script. The director might have been doing his best to keep everything moving but it is a very static action movie. It does, however, have one scene that fortunately comes toward the beginning that is so over the top that it should take its place in the film firmament of “so bad it’s good”. More on that later.

Carrie Ng, Sharla Cheung and Takajo Fujima all look good, Sharla Cheung particularly so. She goes from a burnt orange ultra-suede pantsuit with a silk scarf to a very sharp double-breasted jacket worn over a man-tailored striped shirt. Everyone else dresses down—business very casual or camouflage—and Donnie Yen styles a white T-shirt and black jeans. Donnie is a hotheaded loner with a past, Ken Lo is an evil mobster, Shing Fui-On is a brainless lout and Michael Woods was a big strong guy. No one was challenged on this project. Neither the director nor the screenwriter worked in Hong Kong movies other than in the early 1990s. They clearly weren’t missed.

An instance of incompetence was during one of the gunfights. Someone tossed a hand grenade which was framed in a tight close-up as it landed. Both the safety pin and the safety lever were still intact so it would not have exploded—but it did. What is really stupid about this is someone had to look at that shot and make the decision to leave it in the film. In the middle of yet another gunfight Sharla Cheung was stabbed with a poison tipped blade. While she lay dying (or maybe not—we don’t find out if she shuffled off this mortal coil) and while the battle was at its height Donnie Yen and Gwan Lai-Git stood over her and pointed their pistols at each other, each blaming the other for her predicament.

But this movie broke new ground in one jaw-dropping, what the hell scene, a Hong Kong variant on how an amateur surgeon removes a bullet without using anesthetic. In Hollywood westerns of days gone by this was a not uncommon occurrence. The victim was given a shot of whiskey and a bullet to bite on, his friend probed for the slug with a really big knife and the rest of the gang tried to hold him immobile while the knife went in. In “Cheetah on Fire”, to the everlasting delight of film fans everywhere, he had sex with an attractive woman to distract him from the pain while the confederate wielded the really big knife, a task made more difficult (and completely ridiculous) since the patient was not going to be still.

I am not making this up.

Reviewer Score: 1

Reviewed by: CaptainAmerica
Date: 06/15/2002
Summary: High-caliber stars on a low budget!

Low budgets more often than not can hurt movies based on good ideas, even in Hong Kong. That truism applies to CHEETAH ON FIRE, which features the combined talents of: Gordon Liu, Cheung Man, Donnie Yen, Carrie Ng, Nadeki Fujimi, Shing Fui-On, Eddy Ko, and Ken Lo among other familiar faces! They all do their best...unfortunately, they aren't given a lot to work with!

A group of American CIA agents (Cheung Man, Fujimi and a brief appearance by Mark Houghton) travel to HK to bring back a criminal (Shing Fui-On) who has a top-secret computer chip to a new weapon. Unfortunately as they transport Shing to the airport for a trip to the U.S.A. with the help of HK police (one of them being Carrie Ng; I don't who the guy was who played her partner), Gordon Liu and Ken Lo lead a bunch of bad guys to attack them! A lot of blood gets spilled, Shing escapes, Gordon gets shot, and the affair turns into a race against time to stop Shing and preferably the computer chip from falling into the hands of a Golden Triangle warlord (Michael Woods). Oh, and along the way the good guys run into an enigmatic American agent (Donnie Yen) who joins the chase!

Circumstances must not have permitted the heavy talent involved here to not be involved in a worthier film, and that's a shame. What isn't a shame is they do their best, and it shows...there are honestly some shining moments, but they're few and far-between. But for the low-budget actioner it is -- which combines everything from kung fu to gun fu and even a military offensive! -- it isn't half-bad. If you're a fan of exploitationers like NAKED KILLER, you'll also find something to like. There's a surreal scene better seen than described that involves a quiet moment with the bad guys as Gordon Liu gets serviced by a hooker while a fellow bad guy takes a bullet from his back!

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 02/12/2002

At first, I was a bit surprised at the cast list of this movie. But, of course, Cheetah on Fire was made during the early '90s, where there seemed to be an overabundance of talent, but not enough quality producers, directors or scriptwriters to work with them. Granted, none of the cast (with perhaps the exception of Gordon Liu) are really "A-list" stars, but if you were looking to make an action movie, you could do much worse than the actors assembled here.

Which makes the results of Cheetah on Fire a bit disappointing. There is a good deal of action, but it lacks that certain something -- that extra punch -- to set it above other similar films. The action is staged and shot well, and there could have been some classic stuff (such as when Donnie Yen takes on Ken Lo, and then later when he fights Gordon Liu) but it all falls a bit flat. What makes matters worse is that the exposition in Cheetah on Fire is fairly poor.

The direction is workman-like at best, and that make the plodding script seem all the worse. When we're supposed to develop sympathy for the characters and care when they are hurt, but all that happens is boredom or laughter, something fell apart in the execution -- much like Cheetah on Fire as a whole. It's not a bad movie. In fact, I had a pretty good time with it because of the abundance of action. It's just that I had fairly high expectations and they were not met. Cheetah on Fire does a good job for a low-budget action movie, but don't expect much more than some decent action sequences.

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Donnie Yen is teamed up again with nemeses Michael Woods and JohnSalvitti, who were so great in ITLOD 4. Also features Lan Hui Kwong (Jackie Chan's bodyguard), who wowed audiences as the multiple-kicking bad guy who fought Jackie at the end of Drunken Master 2. Unfortunately this is a relatively lackluster efoort when compared with ITLOD 4, or even Crystal Hunt, which reunites much of the same cast, once again.

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

This style-less, zero percent body fat crime drama snaps along at double-speed. When an arms dealer steals a high security computer chip, two factions of criminals, the HK police, and mainland cops follow a trail that leads to Thailand. Gunfire like firecrackers, bodies twirling and flipping left, right, and center. Carrie Ng looks great in army camouflage gear, but her red lipstick sort of defeats the purpose. Cheung Man looks great, but dies. The incredible ending has great fu, lotsa bullets and grenades, and even stock footage of SE Asian wars.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6