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She Shoots Straight
cast: Joyce Godenzi, Tony Leung, Sammo Jung, Carina Lau, and Agnes Aurelio

director: Corey Yuen

90 minutes (15) 1990
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail
[released 15 May]

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Jeff Young
CID officer Mina (Joyce Godenzi, in what's probably her finest role) marries into the Huang family of Hong Kong cops. Although she doesn't really get along with husband Chung-Bo's sisters, particularly the outspoken and overambitious Ling (Carina Lau), who accuses her new sister-in-law of stealing all the glory in every police operation, Mina tolerates her situation and weathers such hostility. Back at work (at a fashion show) on the next day after her wedding, Mina almost single-handedly foils the kidnap attempt on a foreign princess. She gets a promotion but colleagues like the Huang sisters only get a collection of bruises.

Acting on a tip-off, Mina leads a team of lady cops undercover as party hostesses at a nightclub (oh right, apparently it's not a brothel, we're told) where a gang of Vietnamese thieves stage a robbery. Ling takes offence at a sleazy customer and the police presence is revealed to the gang's henchwoman Ying (US bodybuilder Agnes Aurelio), putting the female cops at risk. During a gunfight, one of the bad guys is killed and the rest of the escaping Vietnamese gang swear a bitter oath of vengeance against the entire Huang family...

She Shoots Straight (aka: Huang jia nu jiang) is one of Asian cinema's classic 'fighting females' thrillers. Comicbook styled action set pieces never detract from the storyline's affecting tragedies (including one especially horrific death scene from jungle warfare tricks), despite some degree of hysteria and melodrama. This is due, in part, to assured direction of the office politics, familial confrontations, and domestic strife but, largely, it's down to generally convincing performances from the main cast including Sammo Hung as the chief of police and Tony Leung (Double Vision, Island Of Greed) as the ill-fated Mr Huang.

By the time she'd made three more films (Tsui Hark's underwhelming 1991 WWII comedy-action flick The Raid among them), delicate Chinese-Australian beauty Godenzi had married co-star Sammo Hung in 1995, and then retired from acting. That's a shame; because former Miss Hong Kong, Godenzi, has great screen presence, and handles both kung fu and gunplay stunts with rare gusto, despite her almost complete lack of formal martial arts training.

DVD extras: Joyce Godenzi biography, Sammo Hung interview soundbite (about working alongside Godenzi), film clips of Hong Kong action heroines, featurette: Battling Babes (eight minutes) - which interviews the likes of Sophia Crawford and Yukari Oshima - plus the usual batch of Hong Kong Legends trailers.
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