DVD/Blu Ray

Lady Reporter (18) |Home Ents Review

Dir. Hoi Mang, Hong Kong, 1989, 90 mins, Cantonese with subtitles and a dubbed option

Cast: Cynthia Rothrock, Elizabeth Lee, Ronny Yu, Mang Hoi, Wu Ma, Billy Chow, Jeff Falcon, Vincent Lyn

Review by Colin Dibben

Very silly but huge fun, this martial arts, cop action film marks the only time a Westerner (and a woman too!) got top billing in a Hong Kong film.

Cynthia Rothrock plays FBI agent Cindy, who goes undercover as a journalist and flies from USA to HK to thwart a drugs and counterfeit money syndicate.

When she isn’t kicking arse, jumping out of burning buildings or doing strange things to her hair, Cindy hangs out with her old friend Judy (Lee), who just happens to be the daughter of the prosecutor who is going after corrupt newspaper owner Mr Dak (Yu).

As James Oliver points out in the accompanying booklet, Lady Reporter actually passes the Bechdel Test, as Cindy and Judy don’t bother themselves with anything as pointless as men when they are together, although they do reconcile at one point over a shared concern with protecting Judy’s dad.

Anyway, back to basics: the fights when they come are pretty damn good. There’s a doozy on some external scaffolding, another across netting covering an HGV, segueing into a fight around a container port; a fight with a Thai boxer that really takes it out of our Cindy, and a home invasion scene in which a rat gets the worst imaginable outcome.

Not only all this, but also some hilarious subtitles and a running He Man and the Masters of the Universe gag. The subtitle that continues to worry me is: “In jail they pump your stomach with foot water and brainwash you with toilet water”. I hope to stay out of jail.

Screen time is also taken up with a typical comic subplot, here featuring director Mang Hoi playing a photo-journalist, Shorty. Shorty is obsessed with outdoing his colleague, who appears to be a wrong un but is in fact an undercover cop, while proving himself to his investigative journalist father (Wu Ma).

It’s fair to say that Lady Reporter doesn’t keep up the action-packed tempo throughout, but maybe that makes the exciting bits even more exciting?

Extras include an interview with Cynthia Rothrock on the making of the film, which gives interesting insights into the Hong Kong movie making process.


Lady Reporter is out from Eureka! on Blu-ray as of 23 June 2023.