Official Exterminator 4 - Goddess Mission (1988)

Directed by: Joel Law
Written by: ?
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Mark Watson, Mike Abbott, Lu Hsiao-Fen, Gary Charter, Eric Hopper, Richard Cui & Tien Feng


Being forced for now to jump past the third entry in the unrelated cut and paste action saga from IFD with little to no ninjas, it's a shame as Official Exterminator 3 - Joy For Living Dead (aka Ninja Knight 4 - Joy For Living Dead) didn't just feature Mike Abbott once again but a source movie made outside of Asia (Brazilian production as a matter of fact) was used in a rare move by IFD. But we jump past it with said Mike and it's once again an action duet between him and competent IFD action hero Mark Watson this time interacting with Taiwan's Pink Thief from 1982, starring Lu Hsiao-Fen. Ninja, poor stunt doubling, awkwardness all round, cat fights and the big eyes of Mike Abbott follows.

Retaining the basic plot of Pink Thief with Lu Hsiao-Fen (credited as Fonda Lynn as always at IFD) and her fellow immigrants trying to make a living as pickpockets and conartists only to be forced to work for the police to bring down a drug dealer and smuggler Eagle (Tien Feng), IFD adds Mark Watson as an undercover cop trying to take down Curtis (Mike Abbott) who's connected to Eagle. And thus the movies are... barely.

Official Exterminator 4 - Goddess Mission makes few claims that it's trying. It's a product at IFD to bring out to a craving market and there's certainly confidence in their brand since Joseph Lai doesn't advertise ninjas in the title or openly (and ultimately as in "parts" 1 and 2 respectively, there's only one appearing in a rather strained fashion). It does ultimately mean proceedings look a little bit tired but those in for the mix of something older Asian and something awfully awkward Western will have a ball partly.

Starting with Mike Abbott initially acting like he's a mind reader or will go all Scanners on an undercover cop in the usual barely decorated office setting for many of these movies, the transition to Pink Thief is very slight and it takes a while before the movie reveals its connection to the separate action footage at IFD. Even less of an illusion that we're dealing with one movie here based on that and the gritty vs colourful that each side provides, Yueh Chieh-Feng's original even becomes incoherent as a result.

But the elements to throw up on a lobby card or trailer is there and while Pink Thief was merely an excuse to ride the wave of Lu Hsiao-Fen's iconic success, that still shines through in the various, revealing costume choices for her and the the game/abusive nature that Lu often seemed to go through in these movies. Retained is therefore the harsh but also fun stuff like the jacuzzi cat fight mixed in with Mark Watson in relatively weak action even by IFD's standards.

Relying a lot on gunplay and obvious fighting doubles, the awkwardness of Official Exterminator 4 - Goddess Mission makes it memorable in the places some of us look for memorable celluloid. It's one of the least convincing combos of genres (light source movie with some action and IFD providing their brand of narrative and action) by Joseph Lai but ultimately there's a consciousness here that it's market fodder for the uninitiated and even initiated buyer of Lai's self admitted crap. No one expects coherency or a lot of minutes of hilarity to laugh at and with but in all honesty, it's there in "Joel Law's" frame and vision. Some of it thanks to him. Some of it thanks to Yueh Chieh-Feng

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson