The 1990’s found Hong Kong cinema exploding into the minds and hearts of cinema lovers across the world. “Heroic Bloodshed” had become a genre in itself. The “Girls with Guns” wave lead by Michelle Yeoh was proving popular and category III with an increase in sexually explicit content was also finding a profitable market.
So naturally, in the commercial mindset of the industry. Someone was meant to combine the three. That man was Godfrey Ho and the film was Lethal Panther (Nu Sat Thu Xinh Dep).
Godfrey Ho has had a lengthy career. Undeniably an exploitation film maker, his work is very much that of a magpie. From Brucesploitaion to Ninja movies, he would be crafting cheap product for international markets. It’s hard to say whether he had an actual “style” as would generally be shooting quick and throwing everything at the camera. This is a more coherent work but as a consistent piece it is torpedoed by its more exploitative elements. I enjoyed it for the most part, as is one of those “so bad it’s good” releases that entertains precisely because of its inefficiencies. But removing the unnecessarily “erotic” parts would have made a big difference. One to watch without a brain switched on or you are not feeling too demanding.
It would be easy to dismiss this as exploitative crap. Very easy, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, either. But it kept us entertained. Even if a good chunk of the amusement was to be found in the steady stream of sarcasm directed at the screen by Chris and I, as the more ludicrous aspects unfolded. Still, Ho clearly possesses absolutely no pretensions to be anything above what he is. And delivers a B-movie (phim hanh dong 2021) experience that we likely will remember for some time. Especially when we head past the milk in the supermarket.