‘Royal Warriors’ or — 101 Things to Do With an Uzi?

Director David Chung’s ‘Royal Warriors’ (1986) is a sort of spiritual sequel to the girls-with-guns action flick ‘Yes, Madam’ (1985) and even though this follow-up doesn’t contain a fight sequence as glorious as the previous film’s climactic showdown (but, then again, what film does?!) what ‘Royal Warriors’ has going for it over its predecessor is a tighter plot, better pacing, deeper characters and an exciting and, more importantly, consistent tone throughout.

The plot is simple but extremely effective — after foiling an attempt to free a mobster from police protection a police detective (Yeoh), Japanese Interpol agent (Hiroyuki Sanada) and airline security guard (Michael Wong) are targeted by the gangster’s blood brothers for revenge. And that’s, basically, it but this minimalistic plot is perfect for hanging a string of phenomenally exciting action scenes that barrel along with a breathless ferocity.

This almost aerodynamically stream-lined narrative means one minute we’re in a fist-fight using fire extinguishers, then a car chase (the one contained within here is insanely OTT) followed by a gun-fight then a foot-chase and WOW, does this film ever let up?!

‘Royal Warriors’ does eventually slow down a tad (relative to what has come before as everything is still moving at a clip) in the final third but that’s only to throw us some narrative curve-balls that had me muttering out loud to myself “Well, I wasn’t expecting that!” and which help amplify the stakes to crazy levels for our protagonists thus allowing the movie to serve us up a finale that’s both deliriously entertaining and surprisingly nihilistic and existential in tone.

A great example of this combination of entertainment and savagery is during a fight with a chainsaw where the music completely drops out allowing for the sound effects to dominate, and they’re wonderfully energetic with, at times, the noise of two or three chainsaws layered over each other to provide some serious (and quite hilarious) sonic punch.

The only real criticism you could direct at ‘Royal Warriors’ is a lack of originality as it’s constructed of a piece of ‘Magnum Force’ (1973) here, a touch of ‘Rambo’ (1985) there and even a splash of ‘The Terminator’ (1984) (I, personally, think the fight here in a neon-soaked nightclub might even be better than Cameron’s similar set-piece) but it all hangs together beautifully and besides, doesn’t all the above sound incredibly exciting?

‘Royal Warrior’s is an absolute blast of a movie. It might not be a game changer in the genre but it might be something better — a film that’s 100% pure and consistent entertainment. And if you ever though Michelle Yeoh couldn’t be any cooler than she already is then just wait until you see what see does with an armoured car at the end of this!



Comedy writer, radio producer and director of large scale audio features.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Colin Edwards

Comedy writer, radio producer and director of large scale audio features.