Pink Force

by wjw on October 4, 2007

It’s been a busy week, and I’ve been too occupied to post much here. So instead I offer this flashback from June of 1994, from the online diary I was keeping at that time.

My apologies for the weird formatting. The system doesn’t seem to want to let me correct it.

Pink Force Commando was mentioned a few topics back. Here’s my reaction to seeing the film:

For my first night of fun in weeks, I went over to Michael Barrett’s place for barbecue, Guinness, and Hong Kong cinema, all of which blended together remarkably well. Tonight’s Hong Kong Klassic was PINK FORCE COMMANDO, which fits into the HK genre known as “girls-with-guns.” This genre started with the ANGEL series, which was inspired by the Charlie’s Angels TV show, and all of which feature extraordinarily beautiful women armed with lots and lots of modern weaponry, all of which they use with great and more or less continuous effect.

This film was directed by Lawrence Full (Chu Yen Ping), who also directed the
surreal Jackie Chan film FANTASY MISSION FORCE— a film I didn’t care for,
incidentally. PINK FORCE COMMANDO has all the same elements, but without Chan— and they work this time. The style is similar to that of a Sergio Leone
western, if Sergio were Chinese and were on a 900-mike acid trip.

We open with our four heroines, and stacks of gold, beseiged in a house by the
Pink Force Commander and his army. The Commander’s men are all dressed in
recognizeable German World War II uniforms, though with different insignia,
and the Commander (a skinny, weaselly-looking Chinese) is dressed up as Erwin
Rommel, complete with goggles perched on his peaked cap. Our heroines include
Dynamite Sally (the thoroughly pulchritudinous Sally Yeh) and Jackal (Lin
Ching Hsia, otherwise known as Brigitte Lin or Venus Lin). This is the young,
more feminine Brigitte Lin, before she cut her hair and started dressing like
Oscar Wilde in films like PEKING OPERA BLUES.

The girls swear to meet again in a year and divide up the gold, after which
Dynamite Sally and Jackal break out of the encircling troops, aided in their
case by a jeep with a .50 caliber Browning mounted on top. But the Pink Force
Commander turns up, wounds Jackal, and grabs the gold, while Sally escapes.
Then it turns out that Jackal isn’t hurt after all— she’s partners with the
Commander. The two go off to live happily ever after with the gold.

In the meantime, the other girls are having various adventures, including an
encounter with the mysterious Heartbroken Man— that’s his name, really!—
who dresses like a Western gunfighter, with a black frock coat and Stetson,
carries a shotgun, and looks as much as possible like a Chinese Lee Van Cleef.

On the anniversary of their battle, the girl gang gets together on the site of
the showdown with the Pink Force, only to discover that Jackal and the
Commander have built a mini Las Vegas on the site— it’s called Sin City—
that looks like a Western frontier town if it had been designed by Levitt, the
guy who built Levittown. There’s a street fair going on, including jugglers,
cowboys on horses, martial artists, Western gunfighters, the occasional
Mercedes limo cruising through . . . you know, just like Vegas.

We should point out that the women all have quite different styles. Jackal
dresses like a gunfighter, with a six-gun on her hip. Dynamite Sally carries
dynamite on a cartridge belt. Rebel dresses in a pink Chinese gown. And the
fourth heroine, whose name I never caught, was dressed like a superhero in
tights and a gold-lined cape. (never flew, though) The Commander has doffed
his Erwin Rommel getup for a 19th century frock coat, 1970s black bellbottoms,
and a Russian fur hat.

The girls decide on revenge, but the Commander is ahead of them, and hires a
group of Girl Ninjas to attack them. The head Ninjette would seem to be his
new girlfriend. The Ninjette is wounded and the others killed. The girls rob
the Sin City casino, but are caught by the Commander’s goons, led by a Chinese
Marlon Brando impersonator who dresses like the Wild One, rides a motorcycle,
and mumbles.

I’m not making this up, you know.

The girls are saved by Jackal, who orders the guard to leave. Her ex-
partners remind her that she’s been a rat, betrayed them, and spent all their
money, and by way of atonement Jackal cuts off her left arm with a ninja sword
that’s been carelessly left lying around from the previous battle. The
Commander is upset when he finds this out, but eventually everyone agrees to
join forces and steal this huge diamond that happens to be passing by.

They attack the caravan guarding the diamond and a huge battle results. The
diamond turns out to be a fake, but the Commander finds a map to the real
diamond and runs off with it. Jackal, realizing she’s been betrayed by her
lover, runs off to intercept him. She and the Commander fight, and Jackal is
wounded and flung into a river. She is rescued by the Heartbroken Man, who
turns out to be an expert in prosthetics. He makes her a new arm with several
attachments, including a six-gun and a gatling gun.

I’m really not making any of this up.

Jackal rejoins her buddies, and they raid the Commander’s encampment and steal
the map, then fort up in Sin City, which while no one was looking became a
palisaded encampment— like a Western fort with Mercedeses.

The Commander calls a meeting of all the bad men in the world and borrows
their armies. The united forces of the Chinese Nazis, the White Lotus
Society, the Ku Klux Klan (in white hooded outfits), the Mongols, and a whole
lot of groups I didn’t recognize march on Sin City to get the map back. Plus
of course the Brando Impersonator and the Danger Ninjettes.

I swear to GOD I’m not making this up.

There’s a huge battle. Everybody dies. The Ninjette takes a bullet meant for
the commander and dies. Jackal kills the Commander and dies happily. the
Heartbroken Man kills the Brando Impersonator— Battle of the Icons!— and
rides off alone into the sunset, the sole survivor.

Three chops. Primitive, low-budget, violent, but has a certain je ne sais
quoi that can’t be denied. It’s definitely an artifact, but I can’t say of
what. I’ve never seen anything like this film.

Don’t see it alone, because you’ll want a witness . . . otherwise no one will
believe it when you tell them.

Rebecca S. October 4, 2007 at 8:33 pm

Now THAT’S plotting.

Wow, I had never heard of this one. I like HK action films, but this one sounds extraordinary even by the standards of that, er, lively genre. Going to have to head over to Mike’s Movie Madness and see if I can unearth it.

Where are those MST3K bots when you need ’em?

Brian October 5, 2007 at 10:31 pm

It’s an excellent film. Shanghai Blue is even better!

dubjay October 8, 2007 at 9:02 pm

Shanghai Blues is one I haven’t seen— and it’s directed by Tsui Hark, my favorite director in the world!

I’ll check it out.

Lance Larka November 23, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Where can I find this? I tried Netflix, but no luck….and er, no I don’t want to actually BUY it and have it on my shelf 🙂

dubjay November 24, 2007 at 1:44 am

Well, I found the video in a Vietnamese boutique. So if you can’t find it online, or if you’re not living in Hong Kong where you can find a bootleg at the Seven-Storey-Tall Bootleg Video Store in Wan Chai (a real place), you should probably just start haunting your local Chinatown or Little Saigon or wherever.

You may not find =this= movie, but you’ll probably find something equally strange.

Or— come to think of it— you can try Video Search of Miami.

dubjay November 24, 2007 at 1:46 am

I checked VSOM. They’ve got it, along with the prequel, GOLDEN QUEEN COMMANDO.

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