The British mentor of a female Hong Kong police Inspector (Michelle Yeoh) plays a little too loose with a piece of microfilm important to a ruthless crime lord, and winds up very dead; this leads to the importation of a Scotland Yard inspector (Cynthia Rothrock), who is every bit Yeoh's match in the ass-kicking department. The result: multiple bad-guy ass-kickings, of course.
The Yes Madam movies are frequently lumped in with the thematically-similar In The Line of Duty movies, so much so that determining a line of genealogy is difficult; suffice to say that this is Michelle Yeoh's debut as an action star, and seeing her paired with Rothrock is more than a little satisfying for this martial arts fanboy. That said, if you rent or purchase this title on that pairing alone, you may be disappointed - much of the movie concerns a comic trio of petty thieves (one played by HK movie bigwig Tsui Hark) who accidentally come into possession of the microfilm.
Even so, the final fight scene is all one could desire, as Yeoh and Rothrock are locked in the crime lord's stylish home with a passel of homicidal lackeys; There is no shortage of glass to be thrown through, and many of the stunts will make you wince - there were a lot of stunt men moving very slowly after this puppy wrapped.
After a bit of wear in the opening moments, the quality of the print settled down to a uniformly good experience. The 5.1 Dolby remix is very under-utilized, and the dubbing on both the Mandarin and Cantonese soundtracks seems over-driven and muffled. Though most of the HK DVDs I've viewed thus far have improved the quality of their English subtitles over the old theatrical versions, Yes Madam is rife with unintentional errors ("Knife! Watch out for rabies.") - which, I hasten to add, I don't mind at all - I find it charming. Any attempts I might make to translate my writings into Chinese would be much less comprehensible, I'm sure.
There are "Talent Files" for Michelle Yeoh, producer Sammo Hung (with a fairly exhaustive filmography) and, interestingly, cinematographer Chung Chi Man. There are also unsubtitled trailers for this movie, Magnificant Warriors (sic), Royal Warriors, and Easy Money. For once, we are not subjected to the Media Asia logo over and over again - this time we are required to sit through the D&B Films intro repeatedly.
With a steep price point and relatively little of its two female stars, Yes Madam should probably be considered mainly as a rental to all but the most dedicated Yeoh and Rothrock fanatics - especially since, if La Rothrock had been allowed to strut her stuff in her American movies as well as she's showcased in her HK films, she would have been more than a minor action star on these shores.
Dr. Freex, 7/10/00