In the line of Duty 2 / Yes, Madam (1985)
Director: Corey Yuen
Writers: Barry Wong
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Cynthia Rothrock, Tsui Hark, and John Shum

The Plot: The heart of In the Line of Duty 2 is a plot that revolves around the hunt for a very special microfilm that will implicate the untouchable gangster Henry Tin Wa Keung (James Tien). Our film begins with Mr. Dick (Dick Wei) meeting up with a white man inside of an expensive hotel, where Dick intends to snatch said microfilm from the Gweilo. It turns out that this man also had connections with the local authorities and had intended to meet with local inspector Ng (Michelle Yeoh) on the same night. Unfortunately, their meeting is postponed when Mr. Dick uses a gun (silenced by an apple) and blows the middle aged white man back to kingdom come. Dick is unable to find the microfilm, but his search is quickly limited whenever room service arrives at the door. This isn’t routine “room service” though, the man posing as a bellhop is actually Asprin (Mang Hoi), a local con man who is robbing the hotel guests blind, and before he even notices that the tenant of this room is dead – Asprin steals his wallet and passport. Unknown to Asprin, this passport also happens to include the hidden microfilm needed to put Henry Tin Wa Keung away for good. This puts Asprin and his two buddies, Strepsil (John Shum ) and Panadol (Tsui Hark), in serious danger. Their only hope of escape from Keung’s army is to seek help from Inspector Ng and her new partner, the dangerous but beautiful foreigner, inspector Carrie Morris (Cynthia Rothrock).

The Review
You know, it’s really hard discussing a movie as if it is a sequel, when in actuality it was made one year earlier. That is the strange case of In the Line of Duty 2, also known as Yes, Madam. A peculiar situation that I covered during my review for In the Line of Duty, but I simply won’t argue with this absurd titling. The movie is better known under it’s Yes, Madam alias, so I will try to use it as much as possible, but I intend to cover the full In the Line of Duty series here on the website and for the sake of being a completest: In the Line of Duty 2 simply looks better. Going back to the matter at hand, it does create a very strange sense of cinematic vertigo when writing out a review for this “sequel” whenever the movie very obvious in its attempt to make a star out of the debuting Michelle Yeoh. She blasts onto the screen with an immediate action sequence and the movie doesn’t relent anytime afterward. She’s thrown at the audience as the next big thing, and the way that she is presented in the film you would be a fool to argue with this line of reasoning. So, being paired with the lovely Cynthia Rothrock, we are given one of the earliest entries into what would be considered the “girls with guns” genre from Hong Kong. Whether or not it is the best film from this series or not, that is another question, but for the most part this is certainly a film that packs a lot of fun for the audience.

Michelle Yeoh is a very special case when it comes to Hong Kong cinema. A person could say all they want about her, but there is simply no arguing against how incredibly unique she is as both a talent and as a cultural icon. Even when compared to other outstanding actresses from her time and era, she has always had something about her that separated her from the flick. She had a very different style of beauty that defined her, something different from, say, the girl-next-door looks of Moon Lee, or the striking (and occasionally confusing) beauty of Yukari Oshima, but Michelle Yeoh remains utterly gorgeous just the same. Her strong features and propensity towards strong dramatic roles are what made her a reliable draw, but the fact that she was known to do her own stunts made her impossible to ignore. Although this movie would serve as an excellent introduction for her as an action film heroine, her big stunt work would come after this movie. However, that doesn’t mean that Yeoh sits back idly by during this movie. No, she puts it all out on the line while throwing herself heavily into some absolutely brutal fight sequences.

The story within In the Line of Duty is relatively simple. It’s a cat and mouse game from start to finish, but the tiny character moments are what = keeps the audience gripped along the way. The small parts played by Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung, and Dick Wei are all very memorable and keep the audience sticking around waiting for other big names to pop up. Although In the Line of Duty had a strong cast, this earlier effort proves to be even more loaded down with star power. The addition of Cynthia Rothrock in particular is something that is very unique to this film. The dynamic between Rothrock and Yeoh is bizarre, but it manages to work mostly due to Rothrock playing against type. Rothrock plays the slightly menacing Dirty Harry of this duo, despite Yeoh actually aping one of Dirty Harry’s lines during the intro to the movie. Michelle Yeoh instead plays the more sensitive of the two characters and is much more apt to play by the rules. Rothrock is, as one might expect, the character who speaks less within this duo, but she is carried by her charisma and facial expressions. Yeoh at times has to carry both actresses on a dramatic level, but she does this and thrives in the spotlight.

There is a great deal of fun to be had in the movie, but there’s something dark brewing below the surface. Although I don’t mean to give anything away, this is a movie that certainly isn’t hesitant to shy away from honesty. No matter how much it hurts. The conclusion to the film is a bit darker than what one might expect, but after all of the drama that comes before it – it seems completely fitting. The comedy in the film looks to counterbalance all of this, but by the end of the movie the audience feels somewhat exhausted. The action has been high, the jokes between the three stooges (John Shum, Mang Hoi, and Tsui Hark, whom we follow around for most of the movie) has been high, and then finally the drama hits with full force. At the end of the day, despite the moving being a bit uneven in parts, I feel the need to acknowledge the shock I had during the final scenes. While nothing incredibly over the top, this is not your every day “wayahh!” moment to close a martial arts movie. This is something a bit more, and director Corey Yuen does not shy away from an opportunity to punch his audience in the gut.

The Conclusion
A very intriguing and unique mid eighties action vehicle, In the Line of Duty II or Yes, Madam is a pretty strong piece of work. While I would say that I personally prefer In the Line of Duty a bit more, I could see others seeing it quite differently. A strong flick and certainly worthy of the four out of five rating that I give it. Certainly check this one out.