Saturday, November 6, 2010

They Call Her Cleopatra Wong (1978)

I’ve never seen so many men dressed as nuns getting killed in one single movie. I guess that’s one of the unique and funny things with the crazy production of They Call Her Cleopatra Wong, starring the hard-hitting and charming Marrie Lee as super-spy Cleopatra Wong (who purrs like a kitten and makes love like a siren). There is a story... something with a big crime organization spreading counterfeit money all over Asia. There’s not much else to do than to call Ms Wong and let her trace the baddies, save the nuns and kill a lot of people, all together with her gang of crazy super-cops.

The baddies has taken a monastery and the nuns in there as hostage, and this means that the private army of evil henchmen must walk around in nun clothes, with big guns hiding under there. The staff of fake-nuns is putting fake money in jars of strawberry jam, which is the way they’re distributing the money. One magnificent master plan indeed.

What makes Cleopatra Wong so darn fun is the non-stop action. Gone is the boring, endless scenes with talking heads that seem to populate mega-cheap movies. Here it goes from one fight, one chase to another one – and ends with a long explosive, cheap, silly, squib-filled attack on the monastery which ends with the cheapest explosion ever (you just see the reaction shots of the actors plus two inserts of shaky interior sets being blown up) and a cool and just plain awesome Marrie Lee showing of on a motorcross!

It just gets better and better for each minute. The fights and chases are a bit smaller from the beginning, but the further the story goes the more action there is, the more wacky characters and absurd dialogues. I’m not sure Marrie Lee is the best fighter I’ve seen, but after a while you get used to her style and it works fine after all.

The soundtrack, which has several pieces of music I recognize from bigger movies, is pure gold. It actually feels very fitting to the movie, and someone had the good taste to choose a lot of funky music with very raw and rough percussion-work.

The new DVD from Dark Sky is a bit rough, it’s fullscreen (but the pre-credits is in widescreen) and probably from a video master. But it’s not bad, and even on my 40 inch Sony Bravia it looks good. This was the best material available, and that’s good enough for me.

They Call Her Cleopatra Wong are one of the funniest, coolest, craziest and most entertaining movies I’ve seen for a long while. It could go on for a few hours more, because the huge amount of fun action and Backyard Asia-feeling of the film made my day. Highly recommended!

9 comments:

Patrick B said...

This is something I need. For sure. Been waiting a long time for this.

dfordoom said...

You're really coming up with the goods today. I need to see this one as well!

Ninja Dixon said...

Thank you! I've been very low and haven't felt for watching movies or writing about them, but suddenly there's tons of fun stuff coming my way! :)

This flick was just amazing!

Jack J said...

I wish they could have found a letterboxed print (my old Aussie vhs is lbx!) but like you said, Fred, this DVD is fine!! And I agree with you it's such a fun and entertaining movie! Have you got the Mondo Macabro book? The image of Cleo Wong in her nun's garments and shutgun is on the cover!

I hope heaps of people buy the DVD and that DarkSky feel confident enough to release the Bionic Boy films and Devil's Three.

Roberto II said...

Thanks Mr. Dixon for the nice review of two of my Dad's film. He would have been flattered with your comments. Even if he is no longer around to read your reviews, his family is equally grateful for all the nice things you have said for both films. From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you very much. By the way, if you want to see more of Franco Guerrero's film, I suggest American Commandos and Warriors of the Apocalypse both was written, produced and directed by my Dad, Mr. Bobby A. Suarez.

Jack J said...

Hello Roberto,
I'm Jack J, I had some (brief) email contact with your father when the South African DVDs came out (Cleopatra Wong & Bionic Boy 1 & 2). It was he who generously wrote to me first to correct some info I'd written abut those releases. He was a nice man and I wish I'd had more contact with him. Anyway, completely unrelated to Fred's post and as a complete coincidence I actually posted a very rare trailer for HITMAN/American Commandos on my blog yesterday. If you'd like you can check it out here:

http://trashy-filipino-war-movies.blogspot.com/2010/11/hitman-totally-rare-and-obscure-trailer.html

best
Jack

Roberto S. Suarez II said...

To Jack,

Thanks for the trailer. I actually have seen it already on You Tube. My father treasured all the people who loved his work. Yes, he is a very nice man having to rise from nowhere and he taught us a lot of good things and to be nice.

Roberto II

Shadowgail said...

I am glad you enjoyed this movie as much as I had enjoyed making and it is simply amazing that after 30 over years, people are still finding this movie entertaining and fun to watch. Thank you for all the kind comments.. Hugs to all!! Marrie Lee

Jack J said...

Marrie Lee, thank you for your nice comment. And trust me quite a few of us enjoy that movie!