|She Shoots Straight (1990)|
|Writers:||Corey Yuen, Barry Wong, Gai Chi Yuen|
|Starring:||Joyce Godenzi, Carina Lau, Sammo Hung and Tony Leung Ka Fai|
|The Plot: Detective Mina (Joyce Godenzi) is the toughest woman on the Hong Kong police force. She is all business, but goes that extra step in order to take down criminals. Even if it means putting her own life at jeopardy, she is willing to take that risk to be the best that she can be. After a successful attempt at protecting a princess, Mina is awarded a medal ahead of her teammates which generally leads to a very tense relationship amongst her former friends. Amidst these coworkers is her own sister-in-law, Huang Chia-Ling (Carina Lau) who despises Mina for her mixed race background as well as the attention that she gets from her own brother Toby (Tony Leung Ka Fai), who is Mina’s new husband. When a gang of psychotic Vietnamese arms dealers make their way into Hong Kong, blood and bullet casings are soon littering the streets. It’ll be left up to Mina and her sister-in-law to find this gang and put an end to their reign of terror!|
Gripping from its very introduction, She Shoots Straight is relentless in its action. Showcasing the fluidity of Hong Kong action in all respects, the pacing for the film is established during a opening series of action setpieces. The initial fifteen minutes of She Shoots Straight shattered all of my preconceived notions about this movie. I halfway expected to find a relatively generic piece of girls-with-guns action that might have provided some scantily clad women performing action choreography rather poorly while looking good, but I was so incredibly far off in that assessment. Looking back on what I originally imagined the film would be, I am slightly offended. When I saw the cast, something should have clicked but it did not. Joyce Godenzi I was vaguely familiar with due to her work in Eastern Condors amongst a couple of other titles, but after this movie I will never forget the name. It is actually a shame that we didn’t get to see more from the actress before she retired, because the daring things that she does in this film easily puts her in contention alongside Michelle Yeoh and her work on Jackie Chan’s Police Story III (aka: Supercop). If you’re familiar with that film, then you know how huge of a compliment that is.
When you watch Hollywood fare such as Charlie’s Angels, everything becomes so stylized that it gets to the point where it no longer remotely resembles anything close to reality. Although Hollywood films such as these look to emulate the action of Hong Kong cinema in their techniques, they are rarely ever successful in even the most minor ways possible. What is the reason for this? Well, you can usually start with the cast. In the case of Charlie’s Angels, you have a cast of actresses who were not chosen for their talents nor pushed to the degree that Hong Kong martial arts film stars usually were. You can fully feel the pillow-like gloves that were used to handle the starlets in such Hollywood drek. With She Shoots Straight, you don’t even have to worry about gloves. Period. If anything, Joyce Godenzi packs a pair of brass knuckles, which she isn’t afraid to use in her attempt to soften your skull. It doesn’t matter that you don’t recognize these women, as we would some assorted cast of Hollywood divas, that isn’t the reason why we believe in their ability to kick butt. A quick glance at their bios and you’ll realize that Joyce Godenzi was a model and Miss Hong Kong winner and not a martial artist by trade. Carina Lau was also never a martial artist. These things do not matter. The difference is the level that these women were pushed and their insane commitment to their roles. Let’s see Cameron Diaz run up a wall, grab a railing and throw her body through the center of it. I couldn’t do that even in my best shape, but this only describes one of the more ‘mild’ stunts in She Shoots Straight.