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鐵觀音 (1967)
Angel with the Iron Fists

Reviewed by: duriandave
Date: 10/01/2005

You can't go wrong with Lily Ho, Tina Chin Fei, and Fanny Fan Lai. Lily Ho shines as Agent 009. She's cool and clever, super-stylish, and packs a pretty good punch (though she's no Connie Chan). As for Tina Chin Fei, she is sexy and delighfully diabolical with her cigarette holder and dagger boots. But I must admit that it is the incomparably voluptuous Fanny Fan Lai that rocks my boat. Every time she appears on the screen, I'm compelled to exclaim: "Dang, girl!"

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: sharkeysbar
Date: 05/03/2005
Summary: Ho Li Li, master spy

Another of Ho Li Li's brilliant gems from the 1960s. She plays the beautiful undercover agent with loads and loads of attitude(should that be in CAPITALS?).
In the spy thriller genre, Lily looks great, talks fast and fights hard, certainly one feisty lady. She even manages to look a million dollars when tied up, ok I know I am biased but Lily rocks! If you like 1960s 'modern' and 'hip and groovy'films, you'll love this one, from fights, one liners, crazy special effects to Lily's cool attitude and smashing good looks.... this is a blast!

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 11/14/2004

Lo Wei is definitely not one of my favorite directors, but I will grant that he can put together a pretty good movie, as evidenced by this 1966 spy thriller. The James Bond films were huge hits all over the world, and (as with other areas), Hong Kong studios soon began cranking out their own versions of everyone's favorite secret agent. Even though Angel with the Iron Fists is totally derivative of Dr. No (down to using the same kind of pop-art title sequence) and hampered by a typically small Shaw Brothers budget (some of the "special" effects are anything but), things are livenened up by a nice dose of retro '60's style and a solid performance by Lily Ho.

In the movie, Lily plays a secret agent named... wait for it... 009. After one of her fellow agents is assassinated, she is sent in to infiltrate the nasty war-mongering group who did the hit. Thankfully, most of the members of this organization (led by the wonderfully catty Tina Chin Fei) run around in tight outfits and knee-high gogo boots. And, oh yeah, there's some big plan to take over the world with some kind of super-drug, but really the plot here is just window dressing for Lily Ho to kick ass and look good while doing so.

Even though Lily isn't totally believeable in the action bits (there are a couple of fights where she is obviously doubled by a man, which frankly look ridiculous) she does have a lot of cool James Bond-esque gadgets to work with, such as a purse that doubles as a pistol -- the perfect accessory for the lady on the go. She is also surprisingly convincing in the non-action scenes. I really liked the way the movie wasn't exploitative. I'm sure that sounds funny coming from a guy who loves Wong Jing's films, but it was nice seeing a female-oriented action flick that didn't actually have to depend on the hero being a woman to be interesting.

You could have swapped Lily Ho for a male actor and gotten the same result here -- maybe a little less appealing to the average red-blooded guy, but it still would have been a solid movie. The bottom line is, if you dig '60's spy pictures, Angel with the Iron Fists comes highly recommended. A lot of today's ADD-riddled audience might find this a bit slow-moving as it clocks in at around two hours, but for fans of the genre, this is a rare treat -- especially since Celestial has done another spot-on job in restoring this nearly forty year old film (at least on the VCD version).

Note: the movie's release year has been listed as 1966 and 1967 -- I am going with the date on the VCD's packaging.

[review from]

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 11/02/2004
Summary: 3/10

It's basically a James Bond knock-off with Lily Ho as agent "009" infiltrating a gang of master criminals. Lo Wei directs without any style or substance as usual, but the film is probably fun to watch with an audience that appreciates 60's camp. The terrible overdubbed new sound effects on the Celestial DVD distracted me so badly I couldn't get into it though, and ended up fast-forwarding a pretty large chunk.

Reviewer Score: 3