masterly master lee

a home for forgotten and famous korean pulp, its heroes, its heroines, and its pulpeteers

Deadly Angels AKA The Bod Squad 俏探女嬌娃 1977 review

The Master was thoroughly entertained by this Charlie’s Angels rip off, that is much better than the original in all respects. Goofy effects (often unintended, but that’s what 30 years having floated by will do for you) are offset by the grim, gritty atmosphere. The 70s yellow plastic visors on the space helmets of the robbers during a jewelry heist dressed as security guards don’t look so funny anymore after they start killing people almost indiscriminately.

Although essentially an attempt to piggyback on the success of Charlie’s Angels (that woefully overestimated, bland, gutless and predictable series, so sayeth the Master), Deadly Angels brings everything that the original couldn’t or wouldn’t. That being fights where people actually die, fights in which both parties get hurt, situations that get out of hand and breasts that get out of blouses. Yes, boys and girls, this is an (s)exploitation movie, albeit a very mild one, with nothing that would dull the senses or outrage the average viewer. As such, it is one of the earliest girls-with-guns flicks. And a very enjoyable one.

Three female agents (one from Hong Kong, one from Japan and one from South Korea, but all with Chinese names…) go undercover in a night club (yes, they were being set up by the scenario writer to show some flesh) to stop the nefarious activities of a diamond smuggling gang who are in the decidedly uneconomic habit of fatally slashing up the pretty young women that courier the merchandise around for them. The diamonds, btw, are hidden in the girls’ brassieres.

What our three female agents (and it hardly needs to be said very beautiful) lack in strategy, patience and investigative technique, they make more than up for with their enthusiasm, fighting skills and grit. Hence the pandemonium that quickly ensues, with our heroines being hit, shot at, sexually assaulted and having their clothes ripped from their bodies. But they always dole out more than they have to take. These women are for real. Far from being the smart-ass, koala-cuddly cuties of Charlie’s Angels, the three actresses (Chin Lan Chen, Nancy Yen and Dana/Tsen Shu-Yi) that star in this South-Korean/Hong Kong coproduction can actually pull a punch, kick an ass and expertly use cool weapons: a mini-crossbow, a belt buckle that turns into a modern-day mace and a high-heeled pump that also doubles as a catapult.

Fighting their way to the evil gang leader, they have to get past some pretty nasty characters, among whom bald actor Lee Hoi Sang 李海生. But this they do and the final fight is more than entertaining. Here are just a few memorable scenes.

1. When one of the diamond smuggling beauties arrives in Seoul, she goes to her hotel by cab. She is taking a shower when the telephone rings. She walks out of the bathroom with a towel that is too small ‘wrapped’ around her. Lying down seductively on the bed, she answers the phone, repeating ‘hello’ three times, each time with a more vacant and laboriously wrought look of not understanding on her pretty face. Priceless. The scene turns ugly when the knife-wielding chief bad guy pays her a visit and get so excited seeing her change clothes, he kills her with a three-bladed knife in a scene that resembles an orgiastic sex scene more than anything. Proving Freud right that a knife can function as a substitute penis penetrating the body (mmmh, the Master wonders, what about a three-bladed knife then?).

2. Also please notice the then still pretty ‘Yum Yum’ Shaw (Shaw Yin Yin 邵音音), one of the more formidable erotic actresses of Hong Kong in the 70s, star as a Korean gangster floozie pur sang and the Master must admit, she is convincing! She has a seductive yet nasty look in her eyes and more than fully deserves her death by komodo varan (just watch the movie).

3. The sunglasses of the love interest of one of the girls (the Hong Kong copper) and fellow kicker of criminal ass. Come on, even in 1977 this can’t exactly have been inconspicuous!

4. As if that isn’t enough, we get some nice scenes shot in Tokyo and Seoul in the late seventies! Groovy. But the best bonus is the presence of Evelyn Kraft (The Mighty Peking Man) as the police officer in charge. We don’t see much of her, but the Master was impressed. She kicks ass, smacks heads and jumps through windows (closed windows, that is) as it is daily fare (then again, maybe it is).

This early girls-with-guns film is very entertaining. The acting and the script aren’t exactly up to par (not to mention the editing: some very strange things must have happened in that editing room) and neither is the DVD edition (Greek subtitles that you can’t turn off?), but in the end that doesn’t matter. The three heroines plus one of Deadly Angels make this particular Shaw Brothers production masterly pulp in the eyes of the Master (and that’s all that matters now, is it not?). Master Lee has the sneaky suspicion that they are for real, unlike their counterparts in Charlie’s Angels. These girls don’t need a Charlie to tell them what to do or male stars to rescue them. They rescue themselves, take out 15 men in a fight single-handedly if necessary and look great while doing it. This movie may be from 1977 (and surely looks like it is), but it is considerably more fun than Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and the like. This is a seriously gritty movie in which the ketchup blood looks real, all too real, and the kicks and punches actually land. The Master was impressed.

PS Master Lee was somewhat mystified to notice that the English language  poster has what look like to be one blonde (that one’s easy, must be Evelyn Kraft, right), two white brunettes (?) and one afro-sporting black woman? What was going on there? Something wrong with the ethnicity of the three leading stars? Or a failed attempt to also tap into the blaxploitation movies of the early 70s? Strange, strange, strange.

Advertisements

3 Comments»

  Robb Hawley wrote @

Been looking for this ever since seeing its trailer on a compilation tape. Is it on DVD?

  masterlymasterlee wrote @

Yes, it is. The Master found it over at hkflix.com. Have fun watching!

  Mike-Nice wrote @

Looking for more action Karate flicks like flying glilitean 36 chambers master killer ect… Hook me up!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: