Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Action/ Comedy/ Satire/ Martial Arts
Director: Mang Hoi
WORTH A LOOK
You’ve got to wonder what HK filmmakers saw in Cynthia Rothrock. Sure, she can fight, but she can’t act and she has negative charisma. Every time Cynthia shows up on the screen, she drags Lady Reporter AKA The Blonde Fury down to the level of a lousy American 80s era B movie.
In the usual slapdash plot for these sorts of things, Cindy (Cynthia Rothrock) is a San Francisco cop sent to Hong Kong to infiltrate a counterfeiting ring by pretending to be a reporter. Helping her out is Judy (Elizabeth Lee), the daughter of the prosecutor (a game Roy Chiao) who is investigating businessman Huang Te (director Ronny Yu, who’s a riot), suspected of running the counterfeiting operation. Also along for the ride is Hai (Mang Hoi), a real reporter, and C.I.D. (Chin Siu-Ho), yet another cop pretending to be an insurance investigator.
I know, it doesn’t really make much sense, but the setup allows screenwriter Sam Chi-Leung and director Mang Hoi to satirize the Hong Kong newspaper business, which provides the biggest laughs in the film. Reporters are depicted as lazy and deceitful, utterly uninterested in the truth as long as they can publish a “scoop.” In one hilarious scene, when the reporters find out about a mass murder, they pour fake blood on a secretary and take pictures so they can out scoop another newspaper.
The filmmakers also get some mileage out of Chinese filial relationships. After Hai’s father (Wu Ma) is beaten up by thugs to intimidate the newspaper into dropping the counterfeiting story, he goes to elaborate lengths to guilt trip his son before eventually telling him to “go for it.” The way Wu Ma and Mang Hoi interact makes for some great comedy.
But you’re not really that interested in the comedy, are you? You want to know about the action. Well, this is an 80s Hong Kong action picture, with choreography by Mang Hoi and Corey Yuen, so of course the action is good, if not as inspired as some of the classics of the genre, like In The Line of Duty IV. Oddly, the scenes with Cynthia Rothrock are just so-so, but whenever Chin Siu-Ho gets to fight, it’s a treat. The great Billy Chow also shows up early on.
Basically, Lady Reporter would be a decent Hong Kong action flick if it didn’t star Cynthia Rothrock. As it is, you have to make do with some isolated laughs and a steady stream of quality martial arts and stunts. Is that enough? For rabid fans of the genre, probably. For everyone else, no.
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