Original Title: Nu Wang Feng (aka) Woman King Bee; Ninja 8: Warriors Of Fire (Re-edit); Ninja & The Warriors Of Fire (Re-edit)
Directed by Chester Wang Produced by Wang Feng Starring: Lu Yi Chan, Ko Chun Hsiung, Chen Hung Lieh, Chi Kuan Chun, Kao Chen Peng, King Jieh Wen, Ma Chang, Ma Sha, Shih Ting Ken Reviewing: YouTube Release Genres: Action / Thriller
Rating - 3 / 5
Synopsis: A martial arts master trains an undercover agent known as Queen Bee. His brutal style of kung fu comes in handy when the Queen Bee takes on the villains.
Views: Chester Wang's femme-fatale thriller opens with a woman being attacked and raped at home, by a bunch of ugly looking men. Soon after her sister finds her, the victim dies which pushes her to seek revenge for her sisters death. Finding help from a martial arts master, the young woman is soon trained under the codename of Queen Bee and is sent on a matter of missions for her new master – building her skills along the way that soon sees her exact vengeance on the murderous rapists that killed her sister!
While the legendary Godfrey Ho has carried the pseudonym of Chester Wang throughout his career - and actually re-edited Queen Bee into the fun Ninja & The Warriors Of Fire about 5 or 6 years later – the director of this film is actually Chester Wang Chung Kuang. Although he appeared in a handful of films over the years, Wang made his career as a director of almost 30 films – including the brilliant My Life's On The Line with Leung Kar Yan (as his directorial debut), Kung Fu Of Seven Steps, Swordsman Adventure with Adam Cheng, The Vampire Dominator, and many more. He also worked as an assistant director on a number of classic titles such as The One-Armed Swordsmen, Tiger & Crane Fists, Shaolin Death Squads, Return Of The Chinese Boxer, and more. I haven't seen too many of his self-directed titles but with Queen Bee, believe that he was a competent enough director to keep things exciting. Although an early 80s film, this Taiwanese thriller often has the tone of a 1960s spy thriller, backed by a decent cast and some fun action. While I couldn't really pinpoint a choreographer for Queen Bee, I'm going to say that assistant director Ho Tung Hing is perhaps the man behind the action. Ho had been an assistant director on a handful of classics such as Clutch Of Power, Awe-Inspiring Weapon, and Jade Dagger Ninja, and possibly had a hand in the fight scenes here. Then there is the possibility that it was Chan Long and Man Lee Pang – two actors and fight directors who starred in and choreographed the sequel. Regardless, the fights are fun when they come about and are typical of their time, but certainly not to the degree of what Sammo and Jackie were dishing out around then...
The great cast is led by the great Lu Yi Chan, a popular Taiwanese actress who starred in a number of Chester Wang movies – and got a second lease of cinematic life when Godfrey Ho re-edited a number of her titles into his films like Mission Thunderbolt, Death Code Ninja, Ninja: American Warrior, and the aforementioned Ninja And The Warriors Of Fire. She made her debut in 1980 starring in no less than 4 features that year, which was quickly followed up with this film and its sequel, Queen Bee's Revenge. She went on to star in the similarly themed film, The Outlaw for Wang as well as Don't Love Any Stranger, The Gang Of Five, Devil Fox, Escape Of The Female Prisoner, and Urban Cop in 1994 which was her final film. In Queen Bee, she often has the vibe of a young Bridget Lin about her at times and is great to watch. The awesome Chi Kuan Chun guest stars as the right-hand man to her master, popping in and out of the story to kick some ass and guide the Queen Bee down the right path. Chi would return alongside her once again in the sequel the same year as well as starring in the classic Iron Neck Li, The Eagle Fist, Up Train, and Black Eagle's Blades. The wonderful Ko Chun Hsing stars as the master who teaches Queen Bee her skills, both in martial arts and gambling (which comes in handy throughout the story). Ko would most probably be known better to Hong Kong film fans as the man who played Tiger Lo in Jackie Chan's Miracles, but has in fact starred in almost 250 films from the early 1960s through to 2014 – with his passing only a year later. Shaw Brothers star Chen Hung Lieh, who starred in Come Drink With Me and over 150 other titles including a host of Jimmy Wang Yu films, appears as one of the villains of the piece, while many other recognisable faces from Taiwanese cinema (of the time) help fill out the cast.
Queen Bee is a fun revenge thriller and, like most Hong Kong and Taiwanese movies from the early 80s, with enough unintentional comedy to keep things entertaining. One such scene is how the titular character uses her newfound friends (and a few tricks with smoke and mirrors) to create ghosts in a bid to scare one of the rapists to death. It's a tad out of place, but great fun at the same time!
Overall: Entertaining enough with a few exciting moments, Queen Bee makes for a fun watch and a great role for Lu Yi Chan!
QUEEN BEE'S REVENGE
Original Title: Nu Wang Feng Fu Qiao (aka) Woman King Bee 2; Ninja: American Warrior (Re-edit)
Directed by Chester Wang Produced by Wang Feng Action by Chan Long, Man Lee Pang Starring: Lu Yi Chan, Ko Chun Hsiung, Chi Kuan Chun, Sally Chen, Man Lee Pang, Chiao Lin, Ma Chiang, Chan Long, Hsiao Hou Tao Reviewing: YouTube Release Genres: Action / Thriller
Rating - 3.7 / 5
Synopsis: The Queen Bee returns to take-down and destroy any villains that have wronged her or get in her way!
Views: The wonderful Lu Yi Chan returns as the titular heroine in this fast paced sequel that ups the action, drama, and violence to help make for an exciting second chapter of the Queen Bee saga. Opening with a great action sequence that sees a fake Queen Bee killed by a ninja assassin, we soon learn that the real vengeful vixen is now in jail for the crimes that saw her take down her sister's murderers. After some time passes, the reformed femme fatale is released and tries to find a real job in the city. She soon finds work as a kitchen hand in a restaurant where she is constantly harassed by her pervert boss – something, of course, she doesn't put up with for long which sees her jobless once again. Stuck without a home or money, she soon finds help when an old friend (Chi Kuan Chun) finds her alone on the streets. Meanwhile, a bunch of gangsters – led by another mysterious woman – are killing off Queen Bee's old team in the most violent ways. Along with her old partner, Queen Bee sets out on another path of vengeance to bring down those that have killed her friends!
I quite liked Queen Bee's Revenge. While it was made the same year as the previous chapter and Chester Wang Chung Kuang returns as director, I felt it was a little more exciting overall with much better fight scenes, graphic violence, and felt much darker in tone. The addition of Sally Chen Sha Li as the leader of the killer gang, was a great touch. Having started her career in the early 60s, the popular Chinese actress starred in almost 80 films including classics such as Tiger's Claw, Furious Slaughter, The Guy With Secret Kung Fu, and many more. Chen retired from the scene in the late 80s with a role in Rouge Of The North and only recently came back out to play in 2017 when she appeared in a couple of films such as The Lady In The Portrait, and The Bold, The Corrupt & The Beautiful with Kara Hui Ying Hung. As well as working as one of the choreographers on Queen Bee's Revenge, Man Lee Pang also stars as one of Sally Chen's main heavies – kicking ass and killing people off in some pretty brutal ways. Although he had appeared in many classic titles from the early 70s, Lee Pang worked as an assistant choreographer on Jackie Chan's Spiritual Kung Fu and Dragon Fist later on. His first job as a martial arts director would actually be on Chester Wang's very own debut, My Life's On The Line starring Leung Kar Yan, with Queen Bee's Revenge being his last only a few years later. Interestingly though, his acting career would continue through to the turn of the century. The great Chi Kuan Chun definitely gets a lot more to do this time around, both in terms of action and acting. I've often found him to be one of the most forgotten Shaw Brothers stars over the years, but personally find him to be one of the best. While he has only starred in around 60 titles since the start of his career, many have been incredible to watch – including a host of independents that he had starred in over the years such as The Golden Mask, Iron Monkey, Showdown At Cotton Mill, Iron Neck Li, The Big Rascal, and many more...
Joining Man Lee Pang in the action department is kung fu actor, Chan Long, who appeared in films such as The Furious Killer, Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu, My Life's On The Line, and Kung Fu Of Seven Steps, Chan also worked on the action for many fun films including The Idiot Swordsman, Death Duel Of Mantis, Eunuch Of The Western Palace, Dragon On Shaolin Tower and more. Between them both, they bring much more edginess to the fight scenes with tighter choreography and strong violence that sees knives go through hands, throats cut, children strangled, fingers shot off, and then some. Lu Yi Chan handles herself very well in the action scenes and throws some nice moves throughout. She also excels in the acting department as she is put through the emotions from her imprisonment to being forcefully drugged by the enemy and having to survive. I really enjoyed her in this role and while I said in my Queen Bee review that I got some young Brigitte Lin vibes from her – here, she reminded me quite a lot of the wonderful Sue Shiomi with her fighting style and trademark ponytail, and really gets to bring that to light in the films brilliant big-twist finale.
Queen Bee's Revenge is a much better film than the first, and not only because we already care for these characters but for many other reasons. I watched both films in Chinese without English subtitles (and not understanding any dialogue) but still had a great time watching and found them easy enough to follow. To be honest, I wouldn't say no to getting a widescreen HD version of both films as I feel there was so much missed in the 4:3 copies I saw, complete with dodgy video quality. They have also made me want to see more of Lu Yi Chan who really impressed me in her roles as Queen Bee!
Overall: An exciting sequel and action thriller, Queen Bee's Revenge is worth the watch and a lot of fun!
(Hong Kong/China 1972)
Original Title: Chou (aka) The Avenger; Fearless Karate Girl
Directed by Florence Yu Fung Chi Produced by Florence Yu Fung Chi Action by Wu Min Hsiung, Lin Feng Sheng, Wang Tai Lang, Ching Kau Lung, Liao Wen Chin Starring: Judy Lee (Chia Ling), Peter Yang Kwan, Li Ying, Ma Chiang, Tsai Hung, Hsueh Han, David Tang Wei Reviewing: Vengeance Video UK DVD Release Genres: Traditional Kung Fu / Drama / Gangster
Rating - 3.5 / 5
DVD Synopsis: This cult classic is considered by many to be the ultimate femme fatal movie of all time. Judy Lee plays Mas Su Chen the sister of Shantung boxer Ma Yung Jun who was slaughtered by the axe gang. Su Chen travels to Shanghai in search of the axe gang and boss Pai Lai Lee. What unfolds in 84 mins is untold death & slaughter as she gets her revenge for her brother.
Views: After arriving at the axe gang's Shanghai teahouse, small-time gangster Ma Yong Sheng is attacked with lime powder and axes. Although he manages to fight back and kill off a number of the gang members, Yong Sheng is brutally murdered and finished off by having two burning cigars shoved into his eyes. His sister soon arrives in the city and after sitting down for a bite, finds herself hounded by some local gangsters who rattle the local business owners for protection money. Ma Su Chen soon finds herself rescued by Fan Kao To, an unemployed laborer who likes to stand up for good and is determined to make some changes in Shanghai. At the same time, Pai hears that SU Chen is in town and sends out his men to track her down, along with any other members of the Ma family. As they continue on their own journeys and stand up to many local thugs, the pair soon meet again to find out that their paths are actually connected through her recently deceased brother. Fan agrees to help Ma take down gang boss Pai Lai Lee and his men, which leads to a series of violent and bloody fights resulting in many deaths and an explosion of vengeance!
Supposedly filmed between 2 and 3 weeks, Queen Boxer, or The Avenger as it is also known, was the debut film of the wonderful Judy Lee (aka Chia Ling) after her co-star, Peter Yang Kwan, saw what she could do as a performer and cast her immediately in the role of Ma Su Chen. Having done such an incredible job in her first-ever role, he kept her around for his next film that same year, The Escape – which pretty much set this femme fatale's career in motion! Playing like an independent sequel of sorts to the Shaw Brother's film, Boxer From Shantung (connected by the character of Ma Yong Sheng) which also came out that same year, Queen Boxer may lack the high production values of its big studio counter-part, but it offers just as much amazing kung-fu action that proves to be an incredible introduction to Judy Lee. For her first role, this tough beauty totally delivers on both the acting and the action front. Commanding the screen with her looks and moves, Lee offers more in her first role than most new actresses in Hollywood offer today and went on to star in almost 60 titles such as Sea Gods And Ghosts, The Blazing Temple, Story In Temple Red Lily, The 8 Masters, 18 Swirling Riders, Lady Constables with Angela Mao Ying, and many more. This was also director Florence Yu's first film as a director (which could explain some of its small flaws) but she had been acting for a good decade beforehand opting to move behind the camera around this period as a writer, producer, and director on films such as Judy Lee's follow-up film, The Escape, Disco Fever, Enter The Fat Dragon, Fantasy Romance, toname but a few...
Much like Yu (and seemingly working alongside her on many projects), Peter Yang Kwan meddled in every part of the film making process, acting in almost 120 films from the mid-50s through to 2003, starring in titles such as The Escape (of which he also co-directed with Yu), Enter The Fat Dragon with Sammo Hung, The Protector with Jackie Chan, Rich And Famous/Tragic Hero with Chow Yun Fat and Andy Lau, and a number of titles with Moon Lee and Yukari Oshima. In his role as Fan Kao To, I thought he came across as Jimmy Wang Yu would in similar projects – both in looks and in moves, albeit a little more fluid than Wang usually is. Although he gets killed off before the end battle, Peter yang gets plenty of screen time and plenty of chances to bust a move but it's obvious that he wanted to make this all about his awesome new starlet. Veteran Taiwanese actor, Li Ying, stars as Pai Lai Li – the big villain who only really sits around giving orders and smoking cigars. Having started in the industry in the late 40s, Li Ying went on to star in almost 170 films into the late 90s, even getting the chance to direct a handful such as Stupid Swordsman, The Challenge, The Blind Hero Fighting Evil Wolf, and Fighting At Night. His right-hand man is played by Hsueh Han, a popular character actor that appeared in almost 200 movies including A Touch Of Zen, One-Armed Boxer, Beach Of The War Gods, Killer Meteors, The Face Behind The Mask, and so much more.
While no less than 5 names are credited for the action choreography, I can only imagine this was mainly for the two major action sequences that really showcase what its main stars can do. These include a fantastic teahouse battle with both Judy Lee and Peter Yang Kwan – which was just brilliant – and the final 12-minute fight scene in Pai Lai Li's home, where Judy takes on the whole of the axe gang in what is probably one of my all-time favourite finales of any old-school flick! One of the choreographers was Wang Tai Lang, a popular actor and action director of the time starring in films like Dance Of Death, Eagle's Claw & Butterfly Palm, 8 Strikes Of A Wildcat, One-Armed Boxer Vs The Flying Guillotine, and appeared as one of the ghosts in Jackie Chan's fun, Spiritual Kung-Fu. Although there are smaller fight scenes scattered throughout, these aforementioned two are definitely the highlight of the film and a great introduction to the skills of Judy Lee. It's just a shame that the print quality on this DVD or any other copy I've seen is so poor with its awful crop and washed-out look. Queen Boxer may not be perfect, but it wouldn't be ignored if it got restored and released on blu-ray anytime soon – allowing fans to see these fights in their full glory and experience a kung-fu classic the way it was meant to be seen!
Overall: A basic tale strengthened by the debut of Judy Lee, Queen Boxer may be a case of having seen it all before, but the powerhouse finale is so worth it!
DVD Extras: Trailers
THE QUEEN OF GAMBLE
(Hong Kong 1991)
Original Title: Biu Je, Nei Fan Ye (aka) Gambling Queen
Directed by Siu Sang Produced by Chen Mu Chuan Action by Ha Kwok Wing Starring: Carol DoDo Cheng, Alex man, Aaron Kwok, Sibelle Hu, Simon Yam, Ng Man Tat, Gigi Lai, Alan Chui, Kan Yee Ching Reviewing: YouTube Release Genres: Gambling / Action / Comedy
Rating - 2.5 / 5
Synopsis: Mainlander Nan (Carol Cheng) moves to Hong Kong to earn a living through gambling. Once there, she meets up with her stuntman cousin Po (Aaron Kowk) and landlord Li (Alex Man). Together, they try to take on the gambling world and get rich quick but soon come across a plot involving a greedy investor, and a plan to scam a friend of Nan's. As a result, they all work together to stop the bad guy and save the day!
Views: Not to be confused with Queen Of Gambler, the Kara Hui and Dick Wei vehicle made the same year or Cheng's other 1991 gambling action-comedy The Top Bet (which also starred a number of the same cast members), The Queen Of Gamble is a comedy about mainland girl Nan who believes she's got the same skills as the God Of Gamblers, and soon heads to Hong Kong to make a living from it. Once there, Nan moves in with her geeky (but handsome) cousin Po who shares a place with a gambling addicted landlord. After getting a job at a casino, Nan soon finds friendship with Fu Hon Hua, a cheeky playboy gambler, and his kick-ass partner Francis Lee. As many antics keep them on their toes, the friends soon learn about a ploy to bring down playboy businessman Fu Hon Hua – a new friend of Nan's. Together, they set out to help him and put a stop to the wicked Mr. Fu before he steals all of Hua's money in the ultimate game of cards!
It's no secret that the Chinese love to gamble. Used as a plot-line in movies for decades, the subject matter got a little more life injected into it by the fantastic Wong Jing when he wrote and directed Challenge Of The Gamesters in 1981. Gambling continued to appear in many of his films throughout the years and in 1989, Wong did it again with the brilliant Casino Raiders and legendary, God Of Gamblers. As a host of sequels and spin-offs followed, many other studios played their own hand – with most failing to reach the heights of Wong's success – and The Queen Of Gamble is one such movie. Although it's not a terrible movie and benefits from having such a great cast, The Queen Of Gamble is still missing a little something that just made the aforementioned Wong Jing titles big hits. The film was written and directed by Siu Sang, a director who made over 20 films – most of which came about in the 1960s. After directing some television episodes in the late 70s, Sang only directed 1 feature in the 1980s with Demi-Gods & Semi-Devils starring Norman Tsui Siu Keung and Austin Wai. Interestingly enough, it would be almost another decade before this project came about before finishing his directing career only 5 years later with the fun Yuen Biao feature, The Hero Of Swallow. Sang found support with The Queen Of Gamble with producer Chen Mu Chuan, a 70s kung-fu actor who appeared in films such as Iron Monkey, Crippled Masters, Monkey Kung Fu, and The Revenger with Ti Lung. Both director and producer also play a small role here...
The cast is probably the strongest thing about The Queen Of Gamble, with Carol DoDo Cheng leading the way. I've always enjoyed her as an actress, and here she pretty much plays the same comedic role we've seen her do a dozen times – but it works. This was a crazy busy year for her appearing in no less than 7 films including the awesome Armour Of God 2: Operation Condor, The Top Bet, Her Fatal Ways 2, and Slickers Vs Killers to name but a few. The same can be said for the gorgeous Aaron Kwok who was still fairly new to the scene at this stage. In what was only his 4th role at the time, Kwok also starred in The Banquet, Lee Rock 2 and the fantastic Saviour Of The Soul (both with Andy Lau) and is as cute as F in the role of Po, Cheng's stuntman cousin who often comes to her rescue. The great Alex Man gets to let his hair down as Li, their gambler landlord, and offers plenty of laughs throughout. Man also had a busy year himself, starring in no less than 8 films – most of which were pretty serious pieces – so I'm sure he enjoyed having a bit of fun making this. While he didn't do many comedy roles overall, Alex actually went on to play a similar role the next year in the crazy Cynthia Khan movie, Super Lady Cop, which I quite enjoyed. The handsome Simon Yam (who came in as second busiest with 13 films in 1991) plays Fu Hon Hua, another fan of gambling and a friend of Mr. Fu – the cocky businessman who plans to steal from him, played by the late and wonderful Ng Man Tat who starred in an incredible 18 productions that year. And finally, the always delightful Sibelle Hu kicks-ass as Yam's double-crossing lady friend, Francis Lee, getting to take part in some of the more exciting action scenes of the film. Out of all the main cast, she wins third place starring in 9 features across 1991 including Crystal Hunt, Dreaming The Reality, Bury Me High, and Holy Virgin vs The Evil Dead. The rest of the cast is filled out with appearances from the likes of Gigi Lai, who stars as the daughter of Ng Man Tat, as well as Wong Tin Lam, Alan Chui, Ha Kwok Wing, a cameo by Dion Lam, and many others.
The Queen Of Gamble is certainly not a bad movie by any means, but it's also not amazing. For the most part it comes across as a blend of Carol Cheng's very own Her Fatal Ways with a light dash of Chow Sing Chi's God Of Gamblers 2 – but just not as hilarious. That said, I did enjoy watching it and mostly for the fun cast and decent action scenes including a fun fight in a casino and another on a large yacht. The action choreography is handled by Ha Kwok Wing (who also pops up throughout), a popular face of over 130 films from many Shaw Brothers classics to any amount of Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan hits (as a prominent member of the stunt team) including The Prodigal Son, Winners & Sinners, Police Story, and many more. On top of that, Ha appeared in classics such as Iron Angels, Magic Crystal, Burning Ambition, God Of Gamblers, Dances With Dragon, and Forbidden City Cop with Chow Sing Chi. While they're not the greatest action scenes ever, the fights do entertain and make for a fun watch – typical of this period of Hong Kong cinema where the stars weren't trained martial artists!
Overall: Passable fun with enough to enjoy once, especially seeing Aaron Kwok running around in speedos, The Queen Of Gamble is far from perfect but has its moments!
QUEEN OF THE UNDERWORLD
(Hong Kong 1991)
Original Title: Yeh Sang Woo Lui Wong: Ha Je Chuen Kei
Directed by Sherman Wong Produced by Wong Jing Action by Sherman Wong Starring: Amy Yip, Shing Fui On, Tan Lap Man, Gigi Lai, Pauline Chan, Patrick Hon, Blacky Ko, Otomo Rena, Ray Lui, Ng Man Tat, Paul Chun, Dennis Chan Reviewing: YouTube Release Genres: Bio / Triad / Action
Rating - 3.3 / 5
Synopsis: This is the legend of Ha and how she became the queen of the underworld. Starting her adult life as an abused prostitute, Ha puts her all into building up a night-life empire and becoming a one of the most powerful woman of her time. But it doesn't come without its challenges!
Views: With the amount of bare flesh and stunning women on show in Queen Of The Underworld, I was quite surprised that Wong Jing didn't want to direct this himself – although that's not to say he missed out on anything as writer and producer. Casting Amy Yip as Helena Wong Ha was an interesting choice, but considering the Cat. 3 rating and overall tone of the film, it was probably a good move considering her huge popularity around this time. The film spans a number of decades as it tells the story of Ha who moves from being a waitress in restaurant to one of Hong Kong's most sought-after prostitutes. Abused by the men in her life (including her cheating cop husband), Ha steps up her game and makes a point of standing up for herself, quickly turning the tables and becoming a woman to be feared. As she grows her night-life empire, Ha must stand up against many challenges including that from triad gangs, cops, and her past!
The beautiful Amy Yip takes on a role that many think was a bit too much for her but personally, I thought it was nice to see her try something a little more challenging than what she was usually getting around this time. 1991 was a crazy busy year for her starring in no less than 10 movies – many of which were pretty big including To Be Number One, Robotrix, Magnificent Scoundrels, and the infamous Sex & Zen. In Queen Of The Underworld (as with a lot of her major roles) the main focus on Yip is her big knockers but equally, it seems to be about how much abuse the poor woman can take. The amount of shock moments in this film that made my mouth hang open, was crazy – including one scene where her husband kicks their child in the face and sends her smashing off a door handle, while a beaten and tied-up Yip watches him screw another woman. While her acting career soon ended with her final role in Raymond Lui Shing Gung's Underground Judgement, Amy Yip managed to rack up close to 40 films over 7 years – most of which are worth a watch. I'm also a huge fan of Wong Jing, regardless of the tripe he dishes out to make a quick buck and more than often enjoy his crazy blend of humour even when its laced throughout his more serious productions. Queen Of The Underworld is no exception, entertaining with perhaps a little more comedy than it really should have which more than likely confuses its western audience as it flits from violent and serious dramatics to some silly comedy that is often based around sex. Personally, I don't mind. I've been watching Hong Kong cinema for well over 30 years now and its just what I expect...
After seeing many other critics reviews on Queen Of The Underworld, it's clear that many of them agree that two Wong's don't make a right. Of course, I am referring to that of Wong Jing as writer and producer, and Sherman Wong Jing Wa as the director. Having started his acting career in the Shaw Brothers movie Murderer Pursues in 1981, Sherman Wong went onto star in many Wong Jing films including the awesome Magic Crystal, The Romancing Star, Crazy Companies, Casino Raiders, My Neighbours Are Phantoms, and Crocodile Hunter – many of which he worked as an assistant director or choreographer. Sherman became a director in his own right in 1989 when he directed the second sequel of the Wong Jing trilogy, The Romancing Star with Andy Lau. Queen Of The Underworld would only be his 3rd feature as director, which could probably explain why there isn't any particular style or excitement about his overall execution, and especially with the big jumps in time. This, in turn, leaves this uneven biopic a little generic for the most part – although it's certainly not boring by any means.
If there's one thing Wong Jing can do, it's pulling together a great cast and Queen Of The Underworld wins in that department. Apart from Amy Yip, the great (and very missed) Shing Fui On plays Brother Cheung – her closest friend and protector who is secretly in love with Ha. As always, it's great to see Shing in a different light from his stereotypical gangster role, and the role of Brother Cheung was no doubt refreshing for him. Blacky Ko stars as Ha's first husband – a cop who treats her with cruelty and ends up getting his dick cut off due to his actions. The late Ng Man Tat appears as Brother Zai, a triad gang boss who takes Ha under his wing when things get rough, and it was nice to see the great Ray Lui cameo as the legendary Cripple Ho – his character from To be Number One (a film made the same year in which Any Yip starred as another character altogether). Popular Hong Kong actor Paul Chun, brother to Shaw Brothers stars David Chaing and Derek Yee, stars as Tung – another gang boss who gets involved in Ha's life and Patrick Hon stars as Handsome Chiu, a massive pain in the ass who continues to annoy Ha over the years. The lovely Pauline Chan makes her début as a hooker who wants to work for Ha, and completely strips down to entertain audiences in a role that very quickly landed her many Cat. 3 titles like Escape From The Brothel, Erotic Ghost Story 3, Girls From China, and many more. Of course, we can't forget about her fun role in Chow Sing Chi's hilarious From Beijing With Love, where she stars as an assassin in a flame-throwing bra. Gigi Lai stars as Ha's unfortunate daughter who suffers a gang rape and rough upbringing, pushing her to the brink of suicide after her ordeal. Lai's breakthrough role came alongside Andy Lau in the brilliant Dragon In Jail movie, and after roles in The Queen Of Gamble, Kung Fu Cult Master, and To Live And Die In Tsimshatsui, went on to play a prominent role in the popular Young & Dangerous series before falling into a host of titles that really don't get talked about today. Many other recognisable and popular faces fill out the rest of the cast both in supporting roles or cameos, such as Dennis Chan, Ho Pak Wong, Jeffrey Lam, Louis Roth, Cheung Yiu Fai, and more.
Queen Of The Underworld may be far from perfect, and probably due a remake after all these years, but it definitely has its moments and entertains in that early 90s way that Hong Kong cinema does so well. Sure there are lots of silly and expected Wong Jing moments throughout, but it wouldn't be a Wong Jing movie if it didn't – and it would be wrong of me to say I didn't enjoy it...
Overall: Not as dramatic a biopic as one would think, but Queen Of The Underworld entertains and has enough going on so you won't get bored!