Enter the Eagles
AKA: And Now You Are Dead
Director: Corey Yuen
Stars: Shannon Lee, Michael Wong, Jordan Chan, Anita Yuen, Benny Uriquedez
A team of high-class thieves led by Wong (and with Lee as the "enforcer" of the group) planned heist of a diamond is de-railed after two pickpockets (Yuen and Chan) manage to steal the team's plans and make their own attempt. The two groups must then come together to defend themselves against a blood-thirtsy and money-hungry fence (Uriquedez) who will stop at nothing to get the diamond.
This was Shannon Lee's (daughter of Bruce and brother of Brandon Lee) big-screen debut and it's a fabulous showcase for her. Wearing swank leather outfits and sunglasses, she looks very cool throughout the film. She's also got the moves to back up the attitude. Though she doesn't fight too much in the movie, what's in there (including a final showdown with Uriquedez, a former kickboxing champion who was also in some Jackie Chan movies such as Dragons Forever) is done well. Though I'm sure a lot of it is accomplished by camera tricks and stunt doubles, Lee does look convincing during the fight scenes -- something which her late brother never really managed to do. There's also a good amount of gunplay in Enter the Eagles as well, which Lee also comes across well at.
In a nice touch, the film's script allows Lee to become something other than a one-dimensional action character. Though she won't win any Oscars any time soon, her performance in the movie outclasses many of her male counterparts, such as Van Damme and Segal. There are some nice bits where the script allows Lee to acknowledge her father's work, but also allow her to develop her own on-screen persona as well. For instance, during one fight, a bad guy takes a scythe across Lee's head, chopping off some of her hair. Lee gives the same "blood-licking" look her father gave during the finale of Enter the Dragon and then deadpans, "I just did my hair!" It sounds kind of cheesy on paper, but in the movie, it works.
As for the rest of the cast, they do a good job. Since most of the movie is in English, Michael Wong (who, coincidentally, also starred in Brandon Lee's HK debut Legacy of Rage) comes across a bit better than many of his other roles. In fact, I would say that Enter the Eagles has probably some of the best gweilo (white guy) actors I've seen in a HK film. That isn't really saying much, but it was nice sitting through a movie where the white guys didn't make me cringe each time they talked. Jordan Chan and Anita Yuen also do well with their roles; Yuen, in particular, does a nice job going from a naïve girl to tough woman during the course of the film.
Let down only somewhat by a transparent plot, some throwaway characters and cheesy special effects, Enter the Eagles is a great action movie that should deliver for most any HK movie fan. Hopefully, this was not just a one-shot deal for Shannon Lee; the ending leaves room for a sequel, which I would welcome. Or better yet, since Corey Yuen has now come to America and found some success, have him direct Shannon (along with someone like Cynthia Rothrock or Michelle Yeoh) in her American debut. There haven't been any strong female action stars in America for some time, and with a renewed interest in martial arts films, I think Shannon Lee could have a very healthy career if she chose to do so.
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A review of the VCD for this movie can be found here
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