Crisis (1983)

Directed by: Tommy Lee
Producers: Gong Chin-Sheng & Chiang Xian-Cheng
Written by : Wong Jing-Toi
Starring: Lu Hsiao-Fen, Yasukari Kurata, Don Wong, Lily Chan, & Poon Shui-Lai

Ya Ying (Lu Hsiao-Fen) is a martial arts instructor returning home for her father's funeral. Next on the agenda in the wake of his passing is the presenting of the will that is locked away using different keys different members of the family have access to (including the second and third concubines of the father). Soon it's clear forces are after the family money as the family lawyer is attacked and kidnapped. Ya Ying teams up with the son (Poon Shui-Lai) to deal with attack upon attack on their lives...

In the wake of Lu Hsiao-Fen's dramatic breakthrough in On The Society File of Shanghai, she was called upon to be a genre queen for a while. Be it in rape revenge movies, dark jealousy dramas etc but Crisis is a rare full on action vehicle that's very eager to please. A positive in an overall sense as orchestrated by Tommy Lee (To Catch A Thief). He seems to be lacking in confidence since he presents what seems to be a pre-reel of vehicular stunts to come and truth be told, it really looks like Lee can't wait to get the basic story beats out of the way and then focus on action for the remainder of the movie.

This is quickly paced but still a soap opera setup and a stale one at that but Lee is just pushing through it without much attention to character. It looks worrisome for a while but through sheer eagerness Lee wins the audience battle. Because the traits of his mentioned and subsequent 1984 actioner are here as well and not just talking about the male cast. Structure is even more basic as Lu Hsiao-Fen is the victim of constant attacks on her life. Be it by vehicles with her hanging onto cars, crashing cars etc but it takes a few scenes for the choreography to feature decent energy and Lu Hsiao-Fen to gain an identity for this type of genre.

It's through an extensive Lu Hsiao-Fen and Poon Shui-Lai versus Don Wong and henchmen that the gritty and intense fight action starts to stand out. Lu in particular is very well immersed, game, the doubling required is very well done and Don Wong jumpkicks with authority. Crisis never lets up after that point and despite so many scenes of varied action, Lee is on at least movie number two in his filmography where the relentlessness and frequency of it all works in his favour eventually. Crisis may not be the most refined actioner out of Taiwan but it has punch, grit and even darkness eventually. Never boring and even if not impactful as an actual movie, that's not what interests Lee.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson