The In The Line of Duty series of films can be confusing for Hong Kong movie fans as a few have had name changes along the way. An example is Yes Madam also known as In The Line of Duty 1, and Royal Warriors is known as In The Line of Duty 2.
But for this film, the original title was not changed, the main difference between this film and the two before is that the main star of those films, Michelle Yeoh, went on to other things and was replaced by Cynthia Khan who stars as Yeung Lai-Ching a trainee cop who really wants to help with solving crimes even if some of her fellow officers advise here to take the easy route and do as little as possible.
After apprehending some robbers on one of her first days and showing her skills she immediately gets transferred to the Serious Crime Unit. Meanwhile, In Japan, a couple of thieves target a fashion show to steal the jewels and end up unleashing a massacre that takes the life of the young partner of veteran cop Fujioka. Fujioka realises it was an inside job for the insurance, but the head jeweller Yamamoto is very well connected in Japan that it’s impossible to arrest and pin any crime on him.
But Yamamoto has also double-crossed the thieves and to get away from them goes to Hong Kong. Fujioka follows him and Yeung is assigned to protect him and to keep him out of trouble. But this puts her in harm’s way, as Fujioka is hellbent on revenge as the terrorists killed his partner.
None of these films are connected in any way and this is a typical hard-hitting action film from the 1980s that has director Yuen Woo Ping in top form before he decided to go the wirework route in the following years.
Cynthia Khan really gets to prove she’s not just a cheap replacement for Michelle Yeoh and shows great screen charisma and action skills. Sure she is doubled for some of the more complex moves but overall shows real spirit and courage in the fight and stunt scenes. There are a few shifts in tone which can be jarring at times, you have a strong sex scene at one point and then some light comedy at the next which can be typical of films from Hong Kong during this time.
The Japanese actor who plays Fujioka also gets to do some great action, especially the brutal fight at the harbour and gives a nice contrast of character to the HK police department officers as he is so hell-bent on revenge. Look out also for Michiko Nishiwaki and Stanley Ong who play the terrorists who did the robbery and were double-crossed by Yamamoto.
A great addition to your Hong Kong action movie collection and although Part 4 is the most talked about I think Part 3 with its sparse 80-minute run time, certainly stands almost equal to it as a great film with some breathtaking action.
The Blu-ray released by Eureka has a good 1080p remastered transfer a bit grainy in places but very crisp with close-ups. Audio gives you the option of Cantonese with English subtitles or English dubbed.
Extras are two audio commentaries, the first by Asian film expert Frank Djeng and the other by Mike Leeder & Arne Venema you also get trailers and a nice booklet with many great photos.
FILM – 8 PICTURE – 8 AUDIO – 7 EXTRA – 7