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In The Line Of Duty 7 - Sea Wolves (1991)

In The Line Of Duty 7 (1991)

They really were in a rush with these last ones, two movies in one year!

Cynthia Khan is back again, this time with another female co-officer and friend (one of whome gets killed during the course of the movie), chasing a criminal which turns out to not be a criminal at all, but rather the brother of a brother to the main criminal, who kills his sister (though he bumps his head and looses his memory shortly after) without knowing who she is. The half-criminal brother wants to get out, but his other brother doesn't. His other brother is loyal to this brother, but the other 'brothers' in the crew are not, they're plotting, and as the plot thins... I mean thickens, the final brother finally regains his memory and together they go on a final vendetta against the ship's crew (where our main character Cynthia gets left somewhat in the sidelines).

Maybe they used up all potential scenarios for the series at this point, maybe they've recycled all potential actors/stunt-men with some martial art knowledge, or maybe the series stopped selling... maybe the main actress stopped being interested... whatever it was, this was a worthy finale.

Since the beginning these movies have gradually been getting worse and worse, particularly in how certain scenes have been sped up too much or have been sloppily cut together, but that's not to say they're bad, they're all great movies, the latter ones just seem rushed in comparison to earlier episodes. It's all HK action with plenty of action, just like it's supposed to be. There's comedy, drama, sacrifice... but not now as much emotion as in some of the earlier parts, even though the fights seem to getting all the more brutal. Not in kill count maybe, but in how the characters are killed.

Now that the series is over, maybe it's time to bring up some flaws I don't think I've mentioned earlier, some more apparent than others, specially in these latter movies:

  • The main character always runs out of bullets. The gun clicks. She looks surprised. She quickly ducks away or resorts to fists and usually the criminal escapes at this moment. You'd think a routinized police officer would learn, at least in the 6th or 7th part of the series!
  • Some scenes are way to sped up. The tactic of speeding up scenes to increase a sense of realism or speed is probably still common in HK movies, but back in the day it was much more noticeable. They didn't speed things up as much as the old B/W era in the US, but you can usually see when things are sped up, and sometimes... it's just too much. It's so fast you don't even get a feel for the fight/chase/etc.
  • Occasionally there is pretty bad positioning of the camera, like one scene when a car is driving towards the camera and the car lights are mirrored in the sky like some form of alien vessel, or when the camera (in this one) is in a hallway, a door opens and you are suddenly blinded by outdoor light.

Apart from these minor 'flaws' (that might be a charm with older or low-budget movies like this... but not when it's too noticeable) I'm always amazed at how well all the attacks and fights are co-ordinated. You often can't tell which ones really hurt and which ones are all an act. Of course they sometimes mess up timing and you really can, but those are exceptions that prove the rule.

When I started watching these movies (with the intention of going through the lot of them) it felt like it'd take up way too much time, but now that they're over I wish there'd have been more. And though Cynthia Khan appears in a lot of these movies (5 out of 7) she doesn't appear in nearly enough action movies. At least not according to the IMDB list of merits, which is all I have to go by.

It's been a great series; this was a worthy though albeit sudden end to it!

 rated 3/5: not bad

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