Satin Steel

1994 Directed by Clifton Ko. Starring Jade Leung, Anita Lee, Russell Wong.

REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Aug. 4, 1995

Kung-fu jungle cannibals, gun-running ventriloquist gangsters, and a vicious henchman with robotic arms all make appearances in Satin Steel, a trashy new action vehicle starring Black Cat heroine Jade Leung. Add to these oddball elements a little steamy sex, some frantic gunplay, a dash of mediocre martial arts fighting, and a few genuinely hair-raising stunts, and you have a ridiculous piece of celluloid that may prove fun for undemanding fans of low-budget garbage -- and just about insufferable for everyone else. Jade Leung stars as an “unconventional Hong Kong police detective with a past,” creatively named, well… Jade Leung. Staying true to its formula, Jade is then teamed up with a by-the-book inspector (newcomer Anita Lee) in order to bring down a vicious gun dealer, and… yawn. Since we are all familiar with these kinds of mismatched buddy plot lines, let us cut to the chase and move on to what will make this picture either watchable or unwatchable, depending on your own personal taste… or lack of it for that matter. This is the kind of movie that offers no explanation for the villain's cyborg arm, allows the heroine time for a sweaty workout sequence, introduces a sympathetic character and kills him or her off for revenge “motivation” one sex scene later, and (in a particularly hilarious bit of internal logic) finds our shapely female cops hunting and arresting suspects in skimpy bathing suits. Even though trashy set-pieces are the focus here, the best thing about Satin Steel is the stuntwork, most of which looks pretty dangerous, and appears to have been done using a minimum of stunt doubles. By comparison, the kung-fu brawls are unexpectedly primitive, as the extent of Leung's martial arts training is more than a little questionable. Clifton Ko's direction may be sloppy, but he keeps the picture moving at a fast pace, enthusiastically serving up healthy doses of both sex and violence. This is brainless and poorly done nonsense for sure, but not without a touch of wild energy and inept charm. It co-stars Joy Luck Club's Russell Wong in an awfully bland performance as Jade's short-lived love interest.

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