In the Line of Duty 4:” ”One death is better than two.”

Year: 1989
Directed by Yuen Woo-ping
Produced by Stephen Shin Gei-Yin
Written by Kwong Kim Yip and Anthony Wong Wing-Fai,
and Cheung Chi-Sing
Cast: Cynthia Khan, Donnie Yen, Michael Wong, Yuen Yat-Choh, Chiao Chiao, Wai Gei-Shun, Yuen Shun-Yi, Michael Woods, John Salvitti, Stephen Berwick, Fairlie Ruth Kordick, and Paul Wong Kwan

A suspect is wrongfully caught up in a scheme involving the CIA and drug deals. Two American cops and a Hong Kong cop must deal with the mess but a darker evil is hiding right in front of them.

Donnie Yen joins the fray in this 4th outing of this franchise utterly devoid of any continuity. Of course, for all intents and purposes, all of these films should probably be treated as standalone. However, Cynthia Khan’s role is largely an extension of her role in In the Line of Duty 3. The complications of In the Line of Duty 4 takes a different approach. In the sense, the threat is more internal and is more driven by a conspiracy. I suppose that does add more intrigue to the plot. But, the plot suffers even more from plot holes, confusion, and just plain contrived predicaments. Luk Wan-ting’s plight is the story’s sole means to inject some emotion. Not that I found it bad per se but it’s a bit too forced to be resolutely anything.

In the Line of Duty 4’s action is worthy of the series’ reputation. The punches and kicks, or the choreography, in general, is a good return to form. The choreography is more stunt-oriented. A highlight of which is when the two combatants try to beat each other with shovels during a motorcycle chase. The ending fight is slightly disappointing because of the weak editing. Donnie Yen’s and Cynthia Khan’s fights should have been cross-cut to heighten the tension and the pacing. There’s a serious shortage of good tension and pacing in it.

In some ways, Line of Duty 4 isn’t as refined as its predecessors but that won’t likely matter if you just care about the stunts and awesome fight choreography.

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