Within the Line of Obligation III (1988)
Directed by: Arthur Wong, Brandy Yuen
Written by: Kiu-Ying Chan
Starring: Cynthia Khan, Hiroshi Fujioka, Michiko Nishiwaki, Stuart Ong
AKA HUANG JIA SHI JIE SZI III, ROYAL MADAM 3: MALE AND FEMALE THIEVES, FORCE OF THE DRAGON
AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY: 2OTH MARCH, from EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera
Genji Nakamura and his girlfriend Michiko Nishiwaki are thieves for the infamous Pink Military terrorist organisation in Japan. Whereas stealing some worthwhile gems in a plot that seems to be a part of an insurance coverage fraud scheme cooked up by famend designer, Yamamoto, the ensuing carnage causes the dying of rookie cop Ken Yamato, main his companion Hiroshi Fujioka to swear vengeance and comply with Genji and Michiko to Hong Kong the place they plan to promote the diamonds to purchase arms. Hong Kong inspector Rachel Yeung is set to bust Genji and Michiko, however Chief Inspector Cameron Chun – who additionally occurs to be her uncle – doesn’t like her being at risk and assigns Rachel to simply escort Fujioka round and maintain him out of bother, hoping he’ll return to Japan in a couple of days. Nevertheless, is that this actually prone to occur?….
Until you’re an actual aficionado of Hong Kong cinema and/or learn each overview that exhibits up on this web site, you might very nicely be questioning why on earth haven’t we reviewed the primary two elements of what’s clearly a collection. Nicely, we now have. Shall I am going by way of the bonkers retitling as soon as extra? 1986’s Sure, Madam, starring Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock, was launched in most Asian territories underneath that title, and was quickly adopted up by Royal Warriors, which additionally starred Yeoh however not Rothrock. Royal Warriors was initially re-titled Police Assassins on video within the UK, with Sure, Madam subsequently packaged as a sequel, subsequently changing into Police Assassins 2. In lots of different international locations, Sure, Madam and Royal Warriors had been referred to as In The Line of Obligation and In The Line Of Obligation 2. The success of these led to the manufacturing of In The Line of Obligation III and In The Line Of Obligation IV, whose Hong Kong titles had been Royal Madam III: Male And Feminine Thieves and Royal Madam IV, each of which star Yang Li-Tsing, credited as ‘Cynthia Khan’ to hyperlink her to Rothrock and Yeoh who was initially billed with the surname Khan, and because the similar character too [Yeoh played different if similar parts in the first two]. When Sure, Madam made it to UK DVD, it was referred to as Police Assassins, then Within the Line of Obligation IV was launched as In The Line of Obligation! Phew! Anyway, This third entry is much like the second, with one other Japanese cop/Hong Kong girl cop pairing, and, whereas it begins in lighter vein, later assumes the identical harmful, even nihilistic really feel, the place no person is secure and dangerous issues can occur at any second [at one point a toy helicopter kills someone]. The 2 movies are virtually dreamlike reflections of one another whereas nonetheless most undoubtedly having their very own identities. The plot knocked up by screenwriter Kiu-Ying Chan isn’t as compelling and is typically daft, however Khan, in her motion film debut [though not her movie debut] is just terrific and on no account making an attempt to repeat Yeoh, whereas the motion is frenetic and plentiful.
One other cop tells Khan’s Rachel, “Once you’re out on patrol, simply keep in mind three issues; see a license plate take it, for those who see a thief disguise, and refuse to be made a scapegoat”. “What for those who see a thief robbing”? “If it’s straightforward, do it. If it isn’t, run away”. Appears like good recommendation. In fact a robber runs by whereas Rachel is getting verbal abuse from a person parked illegally as folks collect spherical. After briefly pausing to tear a part of her skirt in a fantastic contact, she provides chase. Regardless of a combination up involving weapons being held to heads, Rachel catches her quarry who fights again earlier than being tied up. She’s seen by Commissioner John, who promptly makes her a part of the Critical Crimes Unit. In the meantime in Japan a style present is happening, guarded by cops Fujioka and Yamato who have interaction in banter concerning the job and practise gun pulling, however not for lengthy as Genji and Michiko burst in with grenades and machine weapons, killing a great deal of folks and briefly taking the designer Yamamoto hostage. Chasing, gunplay and hanging on for expensive life ensures, ultimately leading to Yamato being shot and falling from Fujioka’s grasp to his dying. We get an emotional scene with Yamato’s spouse and youngster [who wants to take revenge himself] at his grave, with Fujioka displaying up. Again in Hong Kong, Chief Inspector Chung gathers collectively his staff after a coaching train and tells them off for having too many unsolved circumstances, and Rachel tells him her lack of curiosity in this sort of factor, however Chung, being her uncle, needs to maintain her away from as a lot of the motion as potential. Now comes one thing uncommon in these movies till the Class 3 craze got here alongside; a intercourse scene, with even some breasts. Genji slaps Michiko, who pulls out a knife which she makes use of to slit each their wrists, a pact so that they’ll die collectively. She licks the blood earlier than the 2 go at it, his hand generally on her throat, her yanking off a little bit of his hair. We get an actual sense of a passionate, tempestuous relationship.
Filled with guilt, Fujioka needs to go after Yamamoto seeing as his boss thinks that he’s concerned within the robber, however, “He has shut ties to Japanese politicians”, so boss says no. Yamamoto resigns and says he’ll “Examine in a private capability”. In order that’s Genji and Michiko, Yamamoto and Fujioka all heading from Japan to Hong Kong. On the airport, Fujioka is deemed suspicious by safety officer Michael Wong [played by Melvin Wong, and not the character called Michael Wong who was played by Michael Wong in Royal Warriors], who occurs to be an ex of Rachel’s, however in fact responds badly to an arrest try. “Simply humour him for a couple of days, then we’ll ship him again to Tokyo” says Chung to Rachel regarding Fujioka, however Fujioka is on a mission and received’t be restrained, whereas there’s no time for any romantic shenanigans even when these two did fancy one another. In fact one wonders why he’s allowed to stay in Hong Kong after inflicting some appreciable chaos, however then this can be a movie the place a bloody nice machine is hurtling in direction of someone for a good few seconds however the man it’s about to hit solely hears it and turns spherical on the final second. And the place someone bringing flowers can stroll proper right into a police station and go right into a room with none checks. Fujioka needs to search out Yamamoto first, nevertheless it quickly involves mild that Yamamoto gave Genji and Michiko faux diamonds, so now they’re after him as nicely, whereas one other dangerous man named Diamond Fence additionally makes an look, performed by Dick Wei. All of the characters are quickly going to come across one another in a closing third of nonstop motion. Royal Warriors positioned the motion scenes pretty evenly all through the movie however this one has most, although not all, of them within the final half an hour, although you may’t say that pacing nonetheless isn’t very quick all through.
The motion, performed by 5 choreographers, isn’t fairly as numerous as in Royal Warriors, however is maybe even higher crafted in its merging of weapons and martial arts. Maybe to distinguish her from Yeoh, despite the fact that she’s dubbed by the identical individual, Khan is given a number of wirework, a much less grounded type to carry out. This doesn’t all the time solely come off due to the quantity of edits required to disguise the truth that she’s usually doubled, although it’s nonetheless not incoherent like quite a lot of fashionable Hollywood motion and Khan does some superb kicks of various varieties. After her opening scene, Rachel takes half in a warehouse raid. Father tells her to go the improper method so she’s be secure, however she truly encounters a white chap [Stephen Berwick] who alternates fleeing with combating in an thrilling set piece which concludes in comedic style with the opponent leaping onto a tire on the again of a truck – solely the tire is definitely stationery and Rachel can meet up with him. There’s an evening membership shootout, plus two scenes of weapons being fired at one another in automobiles, one among them ending with Fujioka destroying automobiles in a quite extreme style and Rachel again flipping over one. Khan and Wei have a short duel round some parked automobiles, then her and one other cop performed by Benny Lau encounter Genji and Michiko beside a playground. Lau can’t battle, so its simply Khan versus Wei and Nashiwaki for a short time till they’re interrupted. The rematch takes place in a manufacturing unit, Khan dealing with off in opposition to every one after the other quite than each collectively other than a small part, however contemplating the apparent superiority of Wei who fought Jackie Chan 5 instances, it’s nonetheless a fairly good finale. One of the best battle, nonetheless, takes place earlier than that, a grueling encounter between Fujioka and Stuart Ong in a ship hanger regardless of Fujioka being handcuffed, a harpoon being put to brutal use in a bloody, painful encounter. Attention-grabbing to have two Japanese characters battling one another, however then once more, on the time the Japanese market was a significant one for Hong Kong cinema, with Jackie Chan maybe much more enormous in Japan than he was in Hong Kong, so it’s no maybe no surprise it was being catered for a lot.
Comedic appearances from Charlie Chin, Eric Tsang, and Richard Ng [it’s been seven years since Winners And Sinners yet he still thinks that he can become invisible] don’t sluggish issues down on this extremely taut effort which rushes from scene to scene, transitioning with nice financial system. The laughs there are, reminiscent of Yamamoto’s two henchmen quitting then refusing to defend their ex-boss, but there’s an growing seriousness which is nicely managed, feeling like a pure evolving of the movie. With the likes of a knife pinning a hand to a desk and a bloody ran over corpse with intestines spilling out, the violence degree will get fairly excessive even when nothing nasty is dwelt upon. A lot of it’s dealt out by Fujioka, who’s a terrific presence, virtually all the time threatening to blow up, although it’s our two important villains who’re essentially the most attention-grabbing protagonists. They’re terrorists who haven’t any regard for human life; in reality they’re principally psychopaths. But Genji is dying of some illness and the 2 do deeply love one another, even when it’s a troublesome love, which makes us not hate them as a lot as we in all probability ought to. When one among them is killed three quarters of the way in which by way of, we really feel the opposite individual’s ache. Stuart Ong and Nashiwaki have quite a lot of chemistry and Nashiwaki as is unusual and sinister as standard. She was by no means a lot of an actress, however she had one thing which meant that she dominated the display screen at any time when she was on, and one feels that she was by no means used to her full benefit – which I suppose weirdly implies that perhaps she may have acted very nicely certainly? Wong and Yuen don’t try to offer a lot type regardless of Wong being a vastly skilled and proficient cinematographer in Hong Kong cinema, however they do maintain issues rattling alongside, and there are some good touches just like the POV of a bomb being carried. The music rating by Fei-lit Chan is a bit higher than those for the earlier two, if nothing particular. Dramatic scenes are underscored moderately nicely and the motion is even raised to greater pleasure at instances because of the music.
In The Line Of Obligation III is intense and sporting in one of the simplest ways. It’s not as well-known as its two predecessors as a result of it doesn’t function Yeoh, however by god Khan makes an unimaginable impression in her personal proper regardless of the choice to make her motion much less grounded, and subsequently much less plausible when it comes to the character – certainly wire fu greatest belongs in interval movies?
Restricted Version O-Card slipcase that includes new paintings by Darren Wheeling [2000 copies]
1080p HD presentation on Blu-ray from a model new 2K restoration
In The Line Of Obligation III receives a sometimes fantastic restoration. It’s extra vibrant a movie visually than Royal Warriors, and the disc makes essentially the most of this with lush hues, whereas additionally offering a substantial quantity of depth. Blacks exhibit no crush and grain is evenly managed other than a couple of photographs.
Cantonese and English audio choices (each of their unique mono displays)
I listened principally to the Cantonese monitor, however did hear a couple of bits of the English dub, which isn’t dangerous.
Elective English Subtitles, newly translated for this launch
Model new function size audio commentary by Asian movie professional Frank Djeng
As standard, Djeng has no bother going solo, even for a movie about which there’s clearly little manufacturing data which have to be fairly tough. He’s even refusing to repeat himself, as an alternative referring to earlier tracks quite than going over the identical stuff once more. He finds o a lot else to speak about, from Cantonese slang [“sue you with your pants down”!] to the onscreen motion to attention-grabbing data reminiscent of Khan being harassed by the Triads presumably being a cause why she left filmmaking. Have a hearken to the titles of among the Class 3 movies which Ong starred in. Djeng feels that this instalment is underrated, preferring it to the fourth one.
Model new function size audio commentary by motion cinema specialists Mike Leeder & Arne Venema
This is perhaps one among their greatest ever tracks, the 2 on fireplace all through, Starting with Venema telling of a shopping center close to to a location which has an indication DO NOT BUT ANYTHING PIRATED, BEWARE OF THIEVES but which sells a great deal of pirated gear, then Leedersaying how Japan allows you to movie the place you need whereas Hong Kong is extraordinarily strict.; Chat encompasses the yakuza, Fujioka now “elevating attention-grabbing lizards”, Hong Kong’s airport, disco, and Lee Marvin getting shot within the arse, but retains reverting again to the movie simply because it ought to, with the duo additionally clearly relating to this movie extremely. Oh, and also you get extra titles of among the Class 3 movies which Ong starred in.
Reversible sleeve design
A Restricted Version collector’s booklet that includes new writing by James Oliver [2000 copies]
Regardless of in all probability being the least widespread of its collection, “In The Line Of Obligation III” isn’t any slouch in any respect within the motion stakes. Eureka’s disc isn’t a full one nevertheless it’s price noting that they did intend to hold out interviews with each Khan and Nashiwaki for this and “In The Line Of Obligation IV” however for some cause this didn’t work out. The 2 commentary tracks are as wonderful as standard. Extremely Advisable!