Mad Mission 4: You Never Die Twice (1986)

Genres - Action, Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Action Comedy, Parody/Spoof  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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After three strong entries, the Aces Go Places series takes a stumble in its fourth installment. This time out, Karl Maka's script tries to raise the dramatic stakes by downplaying the humor in favor of hard-hitting action. It's a brave approach, but it ultimately shortchanges the film because said silliness was always part of the series' unique appeal. Also, the series had run out of interesting plot hooks by this time, and the usual combination of action and gags feels unexpectedly humdrum as a result. Gritty action specialist Ringo Lam takes the director's seat and his presence is a mixed blessing: the action is well-choreographed, but the grim edge (and the surprising amount of blood) he brings to the thrills doesn't sit well alongside the goofy slapstick. Stars Sam Hui and Karl Maka are likable and energetic, as always, but their charm isn't strong enough to make up for the schizoid nature of this enterprise. In short, Aces Go Places 4 is a disappointment and can only be recommended to series completists.