Made in 1990, Licence to Steal is an action/thriller starring Joyce Godenzi, Agnes Aurelio, Yuen Biao, Collin Chou and Richard Ng and concerns two women who are talented professional thieves but are always in competition. But on an elaborate theft one is double-crossed (Godenzi) and sent to prison.
On release, she discovers that her betrayer is now a highly influential criminal in the area and commands a posse of hired thugs. With a new partner by her side, Godenzi looks to avenge her imprisonment and steal the valuables her former partner had double-crossed her for.
One of the forgotten gems of Hong Kong action films, Licence to Steal has not been seen much since its release in 1990 and has never had an official DVD release only VHS and Laserdisc in Hong Kong.
The film has that typical fast-paced comedy action feel like many of this era but is full of great and superbly crafted fight action. Joyce Godenzi was being primed as a female action star after her amazing debut in Eastern Condors but apart from this film and She Shoots Straight just faded away from movie making and is best known today as being the wife of Sammo Hung.
Collin Chou also gets to show his stuff and displays some great kicking techniques, its a shame he never became a bigger star or leading man. Yuen Biao steals the film with his role as Swordsman. A relative of the police inspector he turns up to help out when needed and comes out with many funny lines, its a role very similar to his character in Dragon’s Forever.
The comedy unlike many films of the era is well done and not too over the top and Richard Ng is always a joy to watch. But fans will get the most out of the fast-paced and hard-hitting fight scenes and watch out for the Game of Death moves in the final fight from Joyce Godenzi!
This is long overdue an official release on DVD or Blu ray and let’s hope someone does this lost gem of a film justice.
7.5 out of 10