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Lady Reporter (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000222700
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 2/7/2023 14:24
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    Review for Lady Reporter

    5 / 10


    It has ever been thus when it comes to Hong Kong action cinema distributed in the UK. Companies will get behind the biggest stars, or the most popular genre, and release the blockbusters first, the most well-known titles and the most popular films. Eureka’s current passion for classic Hong Kong action cinema on Blu-ray began with Jackie Chan’s Police Story after all; the most popular, renowned film from the biggest Hong Kong action star in the eighties. Last year, following a focus on stars like Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Jet Li, Eureka turned to another aspect of Hong Kong action cinema from the eighties, the Girls with Guns... These are films like Yes, Madam and the other In The Line of Duty films starring actors like Michelle Yeoh, Cynthia Khan, and Cynthia Rothrock. And with the big names out of the way, Eureka turn to the less renowned titles. But having gained a taste for the Girls with Guns genre, I requested the Lady Reporter review disc anyway.

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    The US financial system is concerned with the amount of counterfeit money coming into the system from Hong Kong. It seems a villainous newspaper owner is using his printing presses to run off dodgy money. So they send a San Francisco cop named Cindy to Hong Kong, to get a job undercover as a reporter at the paper to investigate.

    You get the theatrical version of the film at (87:29) and in the Extras, the Export Version at (89:36).

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    The Disc

    Lady Reporter gets a 1.85:1 widescreen 1080p transfer, with PCM 2.0 Mono Cantonese with optional English subtitles on the main Theatrical Version of the film. The image is clear and sharp, restored as you would expect, with strong consistent colours and excellent detail. This is still shot on the film stock that was common in the late eighties, so expect more than your fair share of film grain, but the film is watchable enough. The audio is fine for what it is, dubbed in post as was the practice back then, so that even the English speaking characters are badly out of sync. There are no other issues with the audio, bring the action across with impact. The subtitles are accurately timed and free of typos.

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    The disc boots to a static menu page which lists your audio options and the extras as follows.

    The theatrical version of the film gets an audio commentary from Frank Djeng and actor Vincent Lyn.

    The Export Version of the film lasts 89:36, and gets a PCM 2.0 English Mono dub. This comes with an optional audio commentary from Mike Leeder & Arne Venema.

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    The Blonde Fury: Cynthia Rothrock on the Making of Lady Reporter (16:04)
    Director Mang Hoi on Lady Reporter (8:53)
    Select Scene Commentary with Cynthia Rothrock (17:45)
    Trailer 1 (2:33)
    Trailer 2 (3:49)

    The first print run will come with limited edition o-card packaging, a 20-page booklet with writing on the film from James Oliver, and a set of reproduction lobby cards.

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    Lady Reporter is a mess of a film. It might be marginally less of a mess under one it’s alternate titles, like The Blonde Fury, but it is a mess nevertheless. The reason why is stated straight up in the commentaries on the disc. Hong Kong action cinema back in the eighties was a ‘make it up as we go along’ affair at the best of times anyway, but they lost the thread completely with this film. In between the start of filming and its completion, Cynthia Rothrock’s star really ascended in the US, and to capitalise on this, Golden Harvest hired a new director and commissioned a wodge of re-shoots. This was done with no thought given to continuity whatsoever. The premise of the film, the FBI agent going undercover as a newspaper reporter (she starts off as a cop but minutes later she’s FBI) is forgotten after 20 minutes. Characters introduced at the start of the film are forgotten halfway through, as are some plot threads. Hong Kong action films weren’t known for airtight continuity at the best of times, but Lady Reporter sets a new benchmark.

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    At this point, the story is hardly original either, with a foreign cop coming to Hong Kong to deal with criminality, and having a hard time working with, or against the local authorities, who as usual are portrayed as apathetic at best, corrupt at worst. It pretty much turns into a one person crusade, having to fight through a series of minions, sub-bosses and ultimately the final boss. The thing is that, worse than an afterthought, the story here is actively stupid. The film begins with the authorities explicitly explaining that this newspaper boss is using his presses to print fake money, and goes on to list the members of his gang too. If you have this much evidence for his criminality, why do you need someone to go undercover? And Cindy goes into Hong Kong alone, with no support from the local police. And she’s meant to arrest them, with what authority? I know that stories in these films are weak to begin with, but they actively endeavour not to try here.

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    It’s a film that is impossible to take seriously. If you get past the daft story, you’ll run headlong into the continuity issues, where Cynthia Rothrock’s hairstyle lottery is the least of the editor’s issues. It’s also another film from Hong Kong where the humour relies mostly on wordplay and puns, none of which really translates well into the subtitles. Which all begs the question as to what makes Lady Reporter worth your time? For one thing, it’s an action movie from 1989 with a female lead, two years before Sarah Connor became buff in T2. And it’s not just lip service, with Cynthia Rothrock ably carrying the film. The second thing is this is the first Hong Kong film with a foreign actor leading the production, a remarkable moment in film history. But most importantly, and despite the film’s drawbacks, the action once again is peak Hong Kong martial arts at its finest. There are stunts and action sequences in this film that will demand your appreciation, and as a showcase for such skills, Lady Reporter needs to be watched.

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    Lady Reporter wasn’t the film I’d hoped it would be, but there was still much to enjoy. It is the kind of goofy movie that has drinking games built around it, but the action sequences do deliver. Eureka Entertainment put together another excellent package of extras, and give the film the AV treatment that collectors demand.

    Lady Reporter can be bought direct from Eureka Entertainment, Terracotta, and mainstream retailers.

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