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A mysterious woman, known as Madame M, kidnaps forty pre-teen girls and transports them to a remote island to train them as the most deadly assassins. CIA operative Jack Chen follows the case for 6 years with no leads, but when a series of assassinations begin to occur, Jack suspects that Madame M is back in business. Written by
Mark Aldred, who played the Russian crime boss (uncredited) was fired from his job as an English teacher in a Hong Kong primary school because the principal had discovered his role in this film. After a lengthy hearing, an industrial tribunal awarded Aldred HK$11,600 as a contract gratuity. However, it threw out his claim for around $79,000 in damages and dismissed Aldred's claims that his sacking was unlawful. See more »
In the scene where "china doll" is analyzed, they misspell PHILIPPINES as PHILLIPPINES. See more »
A completely misunderstood tale about the dark and light sides of life
This movie came as a huge surprise to me. I actually watched this movie because there was nothing else on television and expected a brutal and modern martial arts movie with a couple of beautiful women that would be rather superficial and more or less entertaining.
In fact, there is much more in this feature than raw fights and sex scenes. This movie is almost built up as a touching documentary with some dramatic moments. It tells the story of the so-called China Dolls, young and beautiful killer women of Chinese descent. The movie shows how a pitiless organization convinces poor young girls to come to an isolated island if they don't simply kidnap them. On this island, everybody is brutally shot if one tries to escape and return back home. The movie shows in very raw pictures how the girls become young women and have to kill their yearlong mates in brutal exercises just to survive. The final cage fights are not only extremely bloody but also very touching and make you think a lot about the nature of the human soul. You almost have tears in your eyes when you see how the very few winners of these yearlong abuses, fights and tortures are than poisoned and raped by brutal white men without any emotions. I must warn you that this movie is really tough stuff and should not be watched by younger audiences or soft-heartened people. It's rather difficult to watch for Western audiences and only Asian or those who are used to the more direct Asian cinema might truly appreciate this.
The movie portrays more and more the fate of one of these China Dolls and shows her everyday life as a killer once she got out of that terrible island of tortures. The young woman is called Charlene and despite her cruel past, she has kept her soul intact. She developed and beautiful and desperate friendship to Katherine while the last of three surviving female killers called Jing has become one of her worst enemies. Charlene wants to get out of business and her pitiless female boss gives her one last job to do that turns out to be a bloody disaster and deadly trap. Charlene must protect her best friend Katherine, save the life of her mother whom she hasn't seen for many years and falls for a young CIA agent who should normally imprison her but risks his job and his life in order to be with her. On the other side, the pitiless Jing, the evil boss called Madame M and a Yakuza boss that wants to avenge his brother are ready to get her back in trouble.
Many critics claim that the movie is very stylish but that the fighting scenes are not always stunning. This movie simply isn't about style and martial arts. These are only two minor elements of the movie. It's not about beautiful woman or exotic locations either. This movie is a raw drama about staying human in inhuman conditions. The film touches profound topics such as family, friendship and love on one side but abuse, hatred and vengeance on the other one and portrays how difficult all these things are to be kept in the balance. With its raw scenes, the somewhat limited story and the only average fighting scenes, the movie might attract a larger audience but reserves enough space to focus on the essential content that turns out to be surprisingly dramatic and philosophical. At the beginning of the movie and by reading popular critics, you won't see this side of the film coming and that's what it makes so outstanding in its simplicity. The movie happens to be extraordinary by not being spectacular. It'an authentic, direct and truly emotional tale about the dark and light sides of life. This movie has loads of elements from different genres to discover and I would certainly watch it again.
Don't get fooled by the critics and give this flick a chance no matter if you look for a documentary, a drama, a martial arts movie, a romance or a thriller. This movie is quite diversified and this might be the reason why many people have some issues with it as they might only adore a couple of elements and think these are not always brilliantly executed. If you like all these genres and the movie as a whole, you will though experience an amazing movie you didn't see coming.
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