Rainbow Force (1982)

Directed by: Cheung Chi-Chiu
Written by: Liu Zheng-Qian
Producers: ?
Starring: Elsa Yeung, Ma Sha, Mary Wong, Chow Shui-Fong, Fang Fang, Yeung Chung-Man & Henry Luk


Presented by IFD in 1986 as Rainbow Force, this 1982 Taiwanese prison drama (or women in reform school-drama with the title Girl's Reformatory according to Hong Kong Movie Database) was by all accounts part of the noteable and extensive package of Taiwanese genre cinema IFD had at their disposal to present intact as well as cutting them up to make room for ninja action shot by the company themselves (often starring Richard Harrison). Credited to Richard Chen (not to be confused with Richard Chen, director of Fury In Red, aka Girl With A Gun), this Elsa Yeung drama certainly brings no surprises to the table but harmless and inconsequential isn't akin to memorable either.

After fighting off thugs alongside boyfriend Tony (Ma Sha), Sophie (Elsa Yeung) is sent to reform school to be trained into a better fit for society. Harassed and having trouble fitting in, at least her goal is to reunite with her love. But an emotional betrayal puts a stop to that dream and the stay at the reform school more of a hardship than before...

What seems like a propaganda piece for the Taiwanese justice system is decidedly not and is at the same time in this rather moody piece. The organization behind the reform school seems constructive with education, labour and counseling being primary inclusions. But as these things go and Rainbow Force of course takes its cues from the Women In Prison-genre, there's a sadistic warden (Fang Fang) at the helm preaching breaking minds before any type of reform can be had. Having said that, the movie presents only on- and off danger and that can be a little confusing, not to mention a disadvantage if it was looking for viewer investment.

There's the ruling gangs (led by Mary Wong) harassing the new girls, cat fights, lesbianism and when lining all of these up for a reel or two, the energy is fair by director Cheung. But as the movie turns lighter, a bit dramatic with emotional betrayal and death while pushing the storyline of just exactly how do you reform criminals, Rainbow Force is way too light and mild to make a difference. It's not embarrassing or boring akin to a Escape To High Risks for instance but if it means to penetrate the social consciousness, it has very little tools to make a dent in that armour.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson