Rumble in Hong Kong
(a.k.a. Police Woman) (1974)
Directed by Hdeng Tsu

Artistic Value: *
Entertainment Value: * ½

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Before dying in a taxi cab, a woman fleeing from a group of thugs working for a powerful gangster hides her purse, which contains something of great value to the mobsters, behind the back seat of that vehicle. The driver (Charlie Chin), although he knows nothing about the purse, is subsequently repeatedly assaulted by the same hooligans who had been pursuing the woman and who still want the object she had been carrying. Fortunately, however, he eventually encounters his deceased fare's sister (Qiu Yuen), who just happens to be a police woman and a skilled martial artist. The two then set out to defeat the evil gangsters.

There really is almost nothing complimentary to say about Hdeng Tsu's Rumble in Hong Kong.

The story the director tells is reasonably coherent but is painfully threadbare. Moreover, it introduces several elements that are never developed in any substantial way. In fact, the generally tedious narrative appears to exist only to provide excuses for various fight sequence or comic incidents. The former are reasonably entertaining, although they are unlikely to awe the viewer. The latter, regrettably, are often forced and are never funny. The moviegoer is, as a result, likely to find himself frequently bored.

Admittedly, however, the movie's ability to engage the viewer is not assisted by its entirely forgettable characters. The heroes are decent and likeable and the villains little more than faceless assailants. The viewer may, nonetheless, be amused to note that one of the antagonist's nameless henchmen is played by Jackie Chan. Although he is given little to do other than chase after and fight with the heroes, it is intriguing to see Chan in a minor supporting role as a villain.

Lastly, I should add that Rumble in Hong Kong is often so incompetently realized that it may be entertaining for those appreciative of bumbling movie making. The director, for example, rarely allows more than a minute or two to go by without zooming in on some character or another. He has inserted one scene in which his protagonists engage in a silly and intrusive tirade against the ills of modern society and the wickedness of the Hong Kong film industry, and, elsewhere, he has had one of his actresses give what is, very likely, the worst portrayal of a person suffering from withdrawal symptoms ever to have been committed to film.

Unfortunately, other than the mild interest Chan's brief appearances and the film makers' ineptitude lend the movie, there is very little in Rumble in Hong Kong that is likely to appeal to the viewer.

Review by Keith Allen

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