Wednesday, 25 March 2020

She Shoots Straight

A genuinely brilliant action film, She Shoots Straight does such an atypically compelling job detailing the personal and professional problems facing Joyce Godenzi's Inspector Kao that, once the difficulties facing the policewoman evolve from gossipy slights and petty jealousies into life-changing violence, the audience is already fiercely protective of her. Corey Yuen's film begins with Kao marrying the only son of a prominent police family. Her beloved (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) is not only her supervisor but the family's only son, brother to four cop sisters whose views on Kao range from ditzy indifference to seething envy.

One sister in particular, Carina Lau's machete wielding Chia-Ling, resents Kao not just for - in her mind - stealing away a doting brother's attentions but because she believe's Kao's mixed-race heritage will dilute their pure, Chinese bloodline. These acute familial resentments peak with a teary, reprimanded Chia-Ling screeching that Kao is a nothing but a mongrel. This interpersonal distress is matched by an action model that can only be described as hysterical, taking every opportunity to accentuate even the most basic of cop thriller machinations with extreme danger. These two emotional frequencies compliment each other beautifully - threat is used to inform then adrenalise the melodrama. The doe-eyed Godenzi is the perfect pilot for this careening vehicle too, her performance a mix of understated, but frayed, emotions and explosive martial arts equalising.

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