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霸海紅英 (1993)
The Avenging Quartet

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 11/30/2010

With 4 of the best fighting femmes of the era, you'd hope a good film would be inevitable. Sadly not. Note that the 4 girls are not the quartet - they're on opposite sides, divided by nationality - which at least means we get to see them fight. The actual quartet is padded out by Chin Kar-Lok and Waise Lee. It always baffles me that Waise Lee seems to have been considered a lady's man, with the premature baldness and lack of charisma, but here we're expected to believe that basically any woman who encounters him is hopelessly in love from then on. Hmmm.

The film is basically trash anyway, despite a feisty performance from Moon Lee. There's not nearly enough action, and no other reason to watch it really.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 09/04/2006
Summary: ooh, what a mess...

a japanese military leader kept details of war atrocities, during the occupation of china. when the japanese were defeated, he hid them, by pasting them on to the back of a famous antique art scroll. the japanese want the scroll, but it has been stolen by waise lee, who has fled to hong kong.

now, a chinese cop (cynthia khan) must travel to hong kong, to find the scroll and waise lee, who happens to be her ex-lover. once there, she befriends moon lee and a police man (chin kar-lok); they set out to find waise lee and the croll, before the japanese agents do...

now, this had a bit of potential, but it's such a mess that nothing seems to gel together and it turns into a big pile of mush. luckily, there are a few reasonable action sequences, to distract you, but they don't make it worth recommending.


Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 01/01/2006
Summary: One to avoid

That movie wasn’t released, it escaped.

It was an inflight movie and I still wanted to walk out.

While it is true that no one plans to make a bad movie, lots of them still get made, including “The Avenging Quartet”. While there were certainly worse movies released in 1993—possibly even a worse movie released on the same day as this one, somewhere in the world, TAQ has such star power, such an incredible lineup of Girls with Guns cinematic royalty that its failure to be even mildly entertaining really stands out. As much as anything this shows there is no foolproof formula for making a good movie—no matter how perfect the blueprint seems there is a huge gulf between the conception of a movie and what winds up on screen. TAQ fell into that gulf with a resounding splash.

Moon Lee was adorable, sexy and tough; Cynthia Khan was glamorous, sexy and strong; Yukari Oshima was elegant, sexy and dangerous; Michiko Nishiwaka was edgy, sexy and malicious. Unfortunately Moon and Cynthia spent a lot of time pining over a depressive art forger played with stupefying detachment by Waise Lee. Additionally, Moon’s character was stuck with thwarting the advances of a bungling, unattractive, ineffectual and (worst of all) completely unfunny police officer. Michiko played Moon’s former sister-in-law (widow of Moon’s elder brother) who was unhinged and erratic and who also tried a brief and unsuccessful fling with Lee’s artist. In a very memorable and disgusting cameo Moon’s elder brother showed himself to be as insane as his wife, which is very. Yukari’s character was the only one who made any sense—she was a highly trained and lethal warrior who dispatched armed ninjas before breakfast.

I am almost never bothered by continuity errors in a film—they happen in gazillion dollar Hollywood blockbusters, lovingly crafted independent movies and direct to video shelf fillers—but couldn’t ignore some of them here. Moon Lee ended on scene wearing a different dress than the one she started it in; Cynthia Kahn didn’t have a purse at the beginning of a scene but had one the size of suitcase at its end. Characters exited to the right when the only door was to the left; a body said on television news to have been burned beyond recognition turned out to look like someone covered with black greasepaint.

“The Avenging Quartet” will probably continue to be rented and purchased by those (like me in this case) who ignore its lukewarm to dreadful reviews and are captivated by the cast, title and cover art.

Recommended only for those who want to see every bit of film with one or more of the featured actresses.

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 02/12/2002

You might think a movie featuring four of Asia's top female action stars promoted with artwork like the picture above would kick serious ass. Unfortunately, that isn't the case here. Besides a few decent fights (including a pretty good one between Michiko and Yukari) and the typical "everything but the kitchen sink" HK finale, there's really nothing of interest in this film. Most of the running time is dedicated to the cliched (yet still convoluted) plot, which concerns the women's connection to art thief Waise Lee, who holds a valuable Japanese painting. This movie isn't bad -- Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima fans will find at least a couple of scenes worth watching here. It's just very disappointing considering the talent involved.

Reviewed by: hkfilmjunkie
Date: 08/01/2001
Summary: A mediocre "girls with guns" flick

It stars Moon Lee, so I had my hopes up, and I was a little disappointed. I expected the action to be non-stop, and everything led me to believe that-the previews, friends, the poster for the film, and that just isn't the case.The ending is great, as one would hope in this type of film, and there are some comedic elements with some of the characters throughout the film, but other than that, there isn't really much to say about this movie.

Reviewed by: Gambit
Date: 04/25/2000

I bought this film thinking that it was going to be great with four of probably the biggest name in female actresses in it. However I found the film very disappointing with nothing really happening at all. There was very few fight scenes and these weren't all that great. The whole film just dragged along and I found myself extremely bored at about 25 minutes into it. This is a definite no no to those out there expecting a good Hong Kong action film.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/21/1999

A Chinese agent slips into Hong Kong in search of nationaltreasure antiques suspected to have been smuggled onto the island. Her investigation gets complicated and entangled by the moment when a Japanese spy and a mysterious woman join the battle line!

[Reviewed by Tai Seng Catalog]

Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

A real dissapointment. There is very little action, and those scenes aren't even that good. Beyond that, the plot is very hard to follow and seems to have no direction at all. A real waste of the main leads.

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Asian Trash Cinema summarizes the plot thusly: "Chinese female-cop Cynthia Khan teams up with powerhouse Moon Lee to stop two bad girls from Tokyo, Yukari Oshima and Nishiwaki Michiko, who are plotting to steal a valuable painting from Waise Lee." Additional plot complications: Waise is a fugitive mainlander, who was Cynthia's lover in the past (she was a mainland cop, but came to HK to seek out her old love). And Moon Lee is a street-wise, cool HK gal who just happens to fall for Waise, too. (Oh yeah - the painting hides important secrets about Japan, too...) This is an uneven movie, but it's worth it just to see the "big four" girls with Guns stars in one movie...