Danger Zone (2003) Movie Review

“Danger Zone” is one of those movies so unconcern with being even slightly competent that you just have to tip your hat to it, because to do otherwise would drive one insane. Take this scene, which occurs about 30 minutes into the movie: a woman, seeking to distract some cops in the living room, slices her wrist open with a shard from a broken bottle. You know, I’d think that if all that was needed to distract the cops was the sight of blood, I wouldn’t go for my wrist. After all, there is a reason people cut their wrist to commit suicide. This would seem like common sense, but alas “Danger Zone” wouldn’t exist if the filmmakers had some common sense to begin with. Or talent, for that matter.

Our low-budget B-movie opus stars four (or is that five?) hot women who just happen to be cops, not that you could tell by looking at them, or — well, it’s really hard to tell that they’re cops, except that they wear those cop ID tags around their necks. And since my Hong Kong B-movie knowledge is not what it should be (re: zero), I couldn’t tell you which actress plays who, since about three of the women sort of look alike. Although I can tell Madam Shum apart from the others because she’s the only one who wears a uniform. Then again, Shum also works in plainclothes, so unless someone mentions her by name… You get the idea.

The basic premise is that the girls must protect a witness name Chun from killers while Chun’s ex-boss, a mobster, waits to go on trial. Being that he’s not just a gangster, but also a loverboy, Chun demands that his girlfriend Bonnie stay with him at the police safehouse. He loves her so darn much he just can’t stand to be without her, despite the fact that killers are constantly trying to get at him. You know, if I was Bonnie I might have to rethink this whole love angle, especially if the guy who professes to love me with all his heart is willing to put me in the middle of constant mortal danger just so he can get some action. Then again, that’s just me.

Actually, the film opens with cops Liang and Kammy on a stakeout. Moments later, Liang goes to investigate a disturbance in a building and ends up getting shot. Kammy was supposed to go with him, but decided to take off because — get this — she wanted to go shopping! I kid you not. Kammy confesses as much at the hospital where Liang is presently in a coma. You see, not only are Kammy and Liang partners, but Liang’s girlfriend is Ying, one of the hot chicks of our movie. At any rate, with her boyfriend in a coma, Ying really doesn’t have a lot to do with the film’s A plot and spends most of her time crying at the hospital.

“Danger Zone” is directed by a Neo Lam and the writing credit goes to a Herman Ng. It’s a low-budget endeavor, shot on digital video, and executed with minimal flair — which is to say, no flair at all. The film’s few action scenes (including a long final 25 minute chase/gunfight that never seems to end) are shot in such a manner that it’s impossible to be exciting, even if the soundtrack insinuates otherwise. An elevator scene, where two of the cops encounter two assassins, makes the point. It could have been decent, even mildly suspenseful, but the whole sequence is so poorly directed as to kill whatever potential there might have existed. As my niece would say when encountering something wholly tacky: what-ever.

“Danger Zone” is not all bad, of course. The movie’s primary reason to exist is to sell its four female stars as sex objects. And, to be fair, the girls are quite attractive. The film itself is actually a sequel to another movie called “Brush Up My Sisters”, starring the same troupe. As to this sequel, there’s no sex at all, unless you consider hot women walking around in slacks and tight T-shirt hot. In fact, there’s not a single trace of nudity to be found, which is pretty surprising considering that all indications point to the franchise as being sexploitation. Alas, there’s no gratuitous sex here. It’s like watching a PG movie trying to sell itself as an R.

However, here is an interesting tidbit that came to mind while I was watching the film (since, as you might expect, nothing onscreen was really that captivating): Did you know that in Hong Kong the only identification cops carry are flimsy ID cards? No shields, no nothing. Basically it’s their name and face on an ID card hanging around their necks from a string, which is exactly the same thing my nephew wears to school. Here’s another thing: from all the Hong Kong cop movies I’ve seen, people never challenge the authenticity of these “paper badges”. Which leads me to this idle thought: I wonder how many cases of cop impersonations Hong Kong has in any given year?

Also, how come Hong Kong cops (at least in the movies) still carry six-shot revolvers as a matter of course? Doesn’t this put them at a disadvantage, especially going up against criminals toting automatic handguns? Of course if you’re a cop in a bad B-movie movie where you never have to reload your gun, having just six shots at your disposal isn’t really a concern. And if you’re in a bad B-movie where people can shoot at each other at point blank range and no one ever seems to get shot, it’s even better.

Neo Lam (director) / Herman Ng (screenplay)

Buy Danger Zone on DVD