After Inspector Ng (Michelle Yeoh) stops a gang from robbing an armored car, she learns that an assassin has killed a man who ends up being her boyfriend, Westerner Richard Nornen. As he lay dying, two pickpockets had gone through his belongings and taken what he died for, a secret microfilm that has info on all of the major gangs in Hong Kong. This brings in Scotland Yard’s Carrie Morris (Cynthia Rothrock) to find that microfilm — I love movies based on hidden microfilm, I must confess — and the two female cops take down the crooks in spectacular fights as their rivalry gives way to grudging respect.
This was Rothrock’s first film and it doesn’t show at all. While working as part of a martial arts demonstration team, Inside Kung Fu that team seeking a new male lead. Even though only one role was mentioned, the team brought their female fighters and the studio was so impressed with Rothrock that they rewrote the film for her. She was surprised as she thought this was going to be a period film and not a modern cop movie.
It’s also an early starring role for Yeoh, who was credited as Michelle Khan. Her first acting work was in a television commercial for Guy Laroche watches. She was told that it was with an actor named Sing Long. She didn’t speak Cantonese, so she had no idea that that was Jackie Chan. She appeared in The Owl vs Bombo and Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars before this; afterward, she was in Royal Warriors, Magnificent Warriors and Easy Money before her retirement, as she married Dickson Poon, who was the D in the D&B Group that made this movie. She’d come back in 1992 after her divorce for the incredible Police Story 3: Super Cop. Today, thirty years later, she’s one of the biggest stars anywhere in the world.
I think it’s kind of amazing how much of the score of Halloween shows up in this movie, almost a prophecy that one day, Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis would have to battle in Everything Everywhere All At Once.
88 Films’ In the Line of Duty Series includes 1985’s Yes, Madam!, 1986’s Royal Warriors, 1988’s In the Line of Duty 3 and 1989’s In the Line of Duty 4. This film is available in Cantonese and two different English dubs and extras like new subtitles, commentary by Jong Kong film expert Frank Djeng, an interview with Cynthia Rothrock, select scene commentary with Cynthia Rothrock and Frank Djeng, interviews with Men Hoi and Michelle Yeoh, an archive Battling Babes feature and a trailer. There’s also a gorgeous book and posters for each movie. You can buy the set from MVD.