Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Now this is more like it. Just the day before I saw another movie, which I will not name, which while terrible really should’ve been more entertaining despite the fact it was terrible. You see a movie with action and nudity and monsters and violence and sex simply by accident should have some entertainment value but that movie did not. That brings us to this movie made way back in 1998 ‘The Black Sheep Affair’ which was the title I saw this movie under and not its false renamed wannabe sequel title of ‘Another Meltdown’. All things considered ‘The Black Sheep Affair’ was also pretty bad as it had a nonsense plot mated to a bunch of overwrought melodrama which was wedged between a plethora of completely unrealistic action sequences. However in the absence of cinematic excellence we still have a movie that was nonetheless insanely entertaining almost from start to finish.

Somewhere in China terrorist have taken over a jetliner and the Colonel in charge has sent in an assault team who gets murdered for their trouble. Now those is command have no choice but give in to these terrorist demands and allow them to take off but not before they send in super agent badass Arthur Dong (Man Cheuk Chui) to survey the situation. Agent Dong does some badass stuff, gets on the plane, kills the lone remaining terrorist and saves all the hostages. Yay Agent Dong! Now we’re demoting you. You see Arthur disobeyed orders because his commander is a sissy and now it’s off to the Russian province of Lavernia, not to be confused with Latveria run by Victor Von Doom, where Arthur will serve as security attaché for the Chinese Ambassador.

Arthur is in Lavernia for all of three minutes when he observes international Japanese terrorist Keizo Mishima (Andrew Lin) completely murderize some Interpol agents leading to rather lengthy and exciting chase and fight sequence,

especially since Mishima is Arthur’s martial arts equal. Mishima probably would’ve kicked that ass if it he didn’t bang his head on that steel girder while riding on the back of the speeding subway train. Admittedly this should’ve killed him instantly but instead it just gave him a nasty knot on his dome and now Mishima is in custody awaiting extradition back to Japan. Just so you know Mishima just isn’t your average evil terrorist since he truly believes he’s The Messiah and was chosen by God to cleanse the earth of vermin.

The overwrought melodrama in this movie is provided via Arthur’s ex-girlfriend Jenny (Shu Qi) who fled China during the Tiananmen Square incident which Arthur, a devout patriot, is having a hard time getting over. We had to suffer through some awfully painful dubbed dialog between these two in this flick, but yeah, after peeping those lips he got over that as we knew he would, as any normal man would, and handled his business. There’s also a bunch of other stuff going on such as a crooked Defense Minister, some Chinese boat people, Italian arms dealers, racist Lavernians, a kindly bar owner, and Mishima’s Red Sun Soldiers of God. But while almost nothing that leads to the required action makes a lick of sense, it is there, it is plentiful and eventually Mishima will get his rematch with Arthur with everything hanging in the balance.

One of the things that makes this movie so very entertaining is Andrew Lin’s character of the zealot Mishima. Lin plays this guy with such earnest conviction and with such a pure super cool insanity that he was almost always fun to watch. Plus to my knowledge this is the first proclaimed messiah that’s also a kung fu master. How cool is that? Not that I’m trying to blaspheme or anything but how awesome would it have been if Jesus knew kung fu? Just think about that for a while and imagine the historical possibilities. Anyway, the thing that was cool about Mishima’s villainy is that he wasn’t the atypical power hungry crazy evil dude, even though that villain was in this movie, but instead he’s a self-proclaimed messiah with religious justification for his murders, has mad kung fu skills and in addition to his crazy Hattori Hanzo sword skills, this was a villain I could get behind.

Breaking down this movie is actually pretty simple. Action good, everything else bad. The story driving this thing was all over the place and didn’t make any kind of sense in anyone’s universe, as cute as Shu Qi is her screaming and squealing in this flick got on a nerve quick, not to mention the tired melodrama that her character brought to this movie and most tragically is that the DVD I had of this movie was dubbed with no option for subtitles. While I’m sure the actual voices of the actors wouldn’t have made this story any better or lessened the impact of the banal melodrama but these voice actors were so gawdawful that they had to be heard to be disbelieved. Just awful.

The good thing is that a ridiculous over top action sequence or Mishima acting really crazy was only moments away. Man Cheuk Chui is some kind of athlete as he jumps and spins and pirouettes away from automatic gunfire as easily as me and you avoid responsibility. Cars explode, people die, rockets are launched, and helicopters crash for the mayhem is constant in this one, personifying the concept of ‘mindless action’. Really loved the sword fight, breaking glass, helicopter shootout. Classic.

No sir, in the grand scheme maybe ‘The Black Sheep Affair’ isn’t a good movie, and I have no idea what the title is supposed to mean, but it was still a fun movie and at least this time around that was more than good enough for me.

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