The Heroine (1973) a.k.a. Ru jing cha a.k.a. Rumble In Hong Kong a.k.a. Police Woman: Breakdown by Kain424
A cop searches for the gang that killed her sister with the aid of a taxi driver who’s being harassed by the same gang.
After starring in Little Tiger Of Canton, Jackie Chan went right back into stuntwork playing an extra in a few roles here and there. Jackie worked again with Bruce Lee in Fist Of Fury, and the following year starred in yet another film called Eagle Shadow Fist. That film would reunite Chan with fellow China Drama Academy alumni member Qiu Yuen, who would make her starring feature debut the following year in The Heroine. Jackie, of course, was taken along for the ride.
Starting off with a mole-faced Jackie Chan as a gang leader (what? Jackie’s a bad guy?) who attacks an innocent couple, the movie announces its menacing intent immediately. But as if to counter that point, we are then introduced to Qiu Yuen’s cop character, beating a different gang and eventually holding one at knifepoint. It is here, right at the start, that the problems begin appearing with the movie.
To start, the film seems far too zoomed in, with much of the dialog being uttered just off screen. Our main character, once introduced, soon disappears and then does so sporadically throughout the duration of the movie. In fact, I wasn’t sure just who the main character actually was until about halfway through the film. In doing so, the filmmakers have made a remarkably confusing plot for such an incredibly simple narrative. They seem to have a message to make with the movie, but every point, when made, is immediately countered by a contradictory scene. The characters complain about the violence in cinema, but then are in a film containing fight scene after fight scene.
The story is really about government control and the responsibility of the average citizen to assist the police force in any way possible. Three years before Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, The Heroine already had a cabbie (played here by Charlie Chin) becoming so chafed by the city’s crime-ridden streets he decides to do something about it himself. Blame is placed squarely on the media, who have apparently influenced the youth to a disturbing degree. In the cabbie’s own, English-dubbed dialog with his pals:
Cabbie: “Look there. All those books… they’re one of many contributing factors to crime. I mean, they’re full of sex or violence. And either way, they corrupt the young.”
Pal #1: “If that’s the case, why don’t they ban the books?”
Pal #2: “Listen to him.” *turns to cabbie* “Yeah, you’re right. Go on.”
Cabbie: “Well, there’s another factor. All these films we get about violence. The kids are very impressionable. I mean, they see all these films and they wanna imitate their heroes.”
Pal #1: “What heroes, though? All they see is robbers, rapists, muggers and murderers! For God’s sake, they’re supposed to be heroes?”
Cabbie: “Ha. I know that. So do you. But the kids don’t. It’s not their fault. It’s all the producers, writers and the directors. They present all these criminal types as semi-heroes. Kids just don’t discriminate, it looks very glamorous. They got a lot to answer for, I tell you.”
Pal #1: “If I was the government, I’d just ban the whole lot! The whole damn lot. The books, the films.”
They then proceed to talk, nonchalantly, about shooting people opposed to this sort of trampling of freedom of speech. Fuck those liberal bastards. This conversation comes completely out of nowhere. I’m pretty sure the film was written around this exchange so they could get their message to the masses. Fuck you, Chinese Cultural Revolution!
Of course, the real reason I watched the movie was to see Jackie Chan. He is in the film, no doubt, but the movie simply isn’t good enough to warrant a viewing from anyone but the most stalwart fans. It’s shot poorly, has a confused script, an unengaging lead without her due screentime, and an embarrassingly fascist message.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Qiu Yuen is Inspector Ho Mei
Yuen plays the role as a typical female who also happens to be a cop. She asks a lot of questions, gets captured, and kicks ass when the script says so. If only she was in the film some more!
[THE BODY COUNT: 1 but maybe 3]
A woman dies abruptly in a cab, seemingly from opium withdrawal. It’s possible Jackie’s gang killed the two lovebirds in the beginning of the flick, but it’s certainly not shown on screen. Pretty damn light.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
Charlie Chin vs. Jackie Chan
During the final battle, Charlie and Jackie take turns chasing each other with cars, fighting atop the vehicles, and finally resorting to kung fu combat. And while there is no way in hell Chin could defeat the young and virile Chan (who was 19 at the time) in real life, I think they do a decent enough job making us believe it. It’s easily the best fight of the film.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Not much to say here. There is one guy in Jackie’s gang who likes to wear a vest with no shirt, but looks can be deceiving.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Our protagonist, though a cop, is still a chick. This means she gets captured, but fortunately she easily escapes. But just before you write this one off as a film about empowerment, I’d like to introduce to you the two opium addicted sleazebags featured herein.
One of these girls, Yuen’s sister, starts all the chaos in the first place. It appears our main baddie is kidnapping these women and hooking them on drugs to make them his slaves of some kind. She escapes the clutches of the gang for a few minutes, only to die in the back seat of the first cab to pick her up. Wuss. The other girl is just another druggie, crawling on all fours and shaking for a fix. She can’t even get her orders right, being sent on a couple missions to retrieve incriminating evidence against the gang. She tries at first, but far too quickly gives up on using any sort of tact and resorts to crying for the object in question.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
The big fight at the end of the movie between Jackie Chan, his fellow lackeys, and the cop and the cabbies. Despite getting his ass kicked for much of the entire film, Charlie Chin manages to take on several guys and Jackie himself. Qiu Yuen pretty much owns the scene though, hardly getting a scratch on her. She kicks a lot of ass.
Earlier, the main baddie has Qiu Yuen captured. He digs through her purse and discovers her police identification card and laughs at the thought of a female cop: “Don’t make me laugh. You women police, the only thing you can do is hand out parking tickets.”
After beating down all his men and capturing him, Yuen finally retorts: “Now then, what was that crack? The one about parking tickets?”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
The state should really crack down on violent media. Those drug dealers certainly aren’t the problem.
[THE GIST OF JACKIE: 3 outta 5]
[X] Breaks Into Someplace Or Escapes By Way Of Acrobatics
[ ] Has An Annoying Tag-Along Companion
[ ] Makes The ‘OW!’ Face And/Or Rubs A Soar Spot
[X] Performs A Ridiculously Dangerous Stunt
[X] Uses A Random Object To Defend Himself
[THE CHECKLIST: 12 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[ ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[ ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice