Angel Enforcers (1989)

Directed by
Messy but delivers the essentials
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-09-15

It's impossible to keep track of which "Angel" films I've seen or not - Angels were everywhere you looked in Hong Kong from about 1987 to 1993, the peak years for the Girls With Guns genre. Most of them follow a similar template and share many of the same cast members. I'm sure I hadn't seen this one before though, partly because I don't think I've ever actually seen a Godfrey Ho film before.

Godfrey Ho was a curious director, best known for his many ninja films that were made by cutting and pasting scenes from other movies with a few newly shot scenes to stitch together some semblance of a story. This particular film is an original creation though - well, it's still a mish mash of ideas and scenes lifted from other films, but he did at least go to the trouble of shooting his own version of them.

The film seems to have been made on a tight budget and without a great deal of care and attention. The plot is too jumbled to really care how it develops, and overindulgence in cliches wastes any genuine emotion that might have been wrung from it. The most affecting relationship in the film is actually the bond between Dick Wei and Phillip Ko - they're nominally just goons, but somehow get more character development in their few scenes together than any of the main characters.

This slapdash approach to narrative isn't particularly unusual for the genre, apart from rare exceptions like Royal Warriors the script was pretty low priority and just needed to produce enough vaguely plausible excuses for the action scenes that were the real reason for the film to exist. ANGEL ENFORCERS does not disappoint on that front, featuring plenty of shoot-outs, chases, explosions and the all important fisticuffs. Phillip Ko choreographs the action in the brutal, bruising style that the genre is known for.

This film actually doesn't feature many of the regulars from the genre, with Sharon Yeung Pan-Pan being the only actress who was somewhat associated with it - and this was her first brush with it. There are an odd mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces in the film, with no A-Listers - Dick Wei is probably the most recognisable.

This is very much "more of the same" and far from the cream of the Girls With Guns crop, but it's a solid, basic mid-tier effort that is unlikely to leave fans of the genre too disappointed.

Oh, and the film does feature possibly the most surprising use of a Kraftwerk track in cinematic history.