In The Line of Duty 5 (1990)

Rating: D-

Dir: Cha Yuen-Yee
Star: Cynthia Khan, David Wu, Alvina Kong Yan-Yin, Kim Maree Penn
a.k.a. Middle Man

Once again, the CIA are involved, together with a spy ring who have a nasty habit of terminating anyone who gets in their way. Unfortunately, this includes David, the cousin of Insp. Yang Lei Ching (Khan), who’s been dropped in it by a CIA double agent, and is now on the run from the spy ring, the police and the CIA. He’s not the only person to be dragged in – most of these fail to make it to the end of the movie.

The first shock is that there’s no martial arts for about 30 minutes, by which point you’re wondering whether this is an Oriental soap opera. Then, with the sort of bang! you only get when someone falls onto a car roof from a great height, someone falls onto a car roof etc, etc, and things warm up. They continue to improve in a sporadic fashion until the climax, the only bit where the fights rival IV in the series. It does have its moments, but overall it fails to gel, though it improved on the second viewing it received for this article. I’d blame the faults on the script-writer, who would seem to have overdosed on John Le Carre, perhaps not the best preparation for a martial arts film.

[This was not released under the In the Line of Duty name in Hong Kong, but some overseas releases took advantage of previous installments’ success by bolting it on as a fifth entry]