Her Judgement Day (1993)

Directed by: Lau Hung-Chuen
Written by: Carol Lai & Alan Lo
Producer: Lo Wei
Starring: Mondi Yau, Tam Hoi-Yan, Lung Fong, Sun Xing, Wu Ma, Ng Sing-Fat & Lo Lieh

Possessing a name list rival triads (lead by Cripple Ho, played by Lung Fong) are after in order to gain more power and influence, Qun (Lo Lieh) burns the list but stores it on a Game Boy-cartridge. Ho and henchmen kill Qun and his wife but the daughter Ling (Tam Hoi-Yan) flees with Sister Ching (Mondi Yau). Ching sees the girl as dead weight but assumes responsibility and tries to arrange an escape plan out of Hong Kong. Encountering Sam (Sun Xing), romantic sparks fly but he's working with Ho...

From veteran cinematographer and director Lau Hung-Chuen (Devil Fetus, A Chinese Legend), a career mostly spent lensing and occasionally directing shows, in the case of the Category III rated Her Judgement Day, that Lau has got a grip of making a professional frame technically and story-wise. At least in the latter department there's skills to reach involving and solid.

Aided by good, key performances by his female duo, the expected beats of heat to protector and dangers along the way does not surprise nor come with true poignancy but again via technical- and narrative skill, this thriller does its thing in close to admirable fashion. Partly because you don't expect many Hong Kong 90s movies to possess a level that isn't painfully local (cheap, with sex filler and inappropriate comedy if focusing on the rating the movie received).

Yau got the feist and heart firmly in place and her dual act with Tam Hoi-Yan works well with the latter being thrust into the uglier side of the world where she during chases and mourning has to deal with flashers and walking in on a couple having loud sex. Well cast strength, well cast innocence and with veterans Lo Lieh, Wu Ma and Lung Fong adding brief but memorable support (Lung Fong again enjoying being bad like only he can), it's no wonder this 85 minute chase involves. Although miraculously the final impression remains unchanged, the core of Ching and Sam's relationship is pretty flat, with no believable connection on screen (I suspect the Mandarin dubbed version is missing graphic violence and some sex but certainly no drama).

Aided by tension, some gunplay that reaches its fever pitch during a chaotic guns versus assassins on motorbikes, Her Judgement Day stands out during a busy year of cheap, commercial, adult entertainment and the III became the symbol for an exploitation, cash-in type of cinematic drive. Not here as Her Judgement Day just sets out to make a good film. Maybe not a film that matters but sometimes it is actually rare and a treat to see cheaper, on the fringe Hong Kong cinema take itself seriously.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson