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Protégé de la Rose Noire
Partie Deux
by: Wes

Greetings, readers, and welcome to the exciting conclusion of Scary-Crayon's Protégé de la Rose Noire review! Naturally, for those of you who have poor long term memories and/or are just joining us, the first part of the review is available for your perusal, but because summaries never hurt anybody, here's what's happened so far:

Uh-oh...Bitch is crazy!

Last time, we met two violent and crazy girls -- Gillian and Charlene; one of whom apparently has a PhD in Psychology, the other of whom is a supernatural alien -- who found themselves in the trap-laden mansion of Black Rose, a violent and crazy crimefighter who likely suffers from some murderous form of manic depression. And along the way, the three of these women have brutally pummeled Jim Lo, a poor, unfortunate taxicab driver who got caught up in this mess trying to save Gill and Charlene's lives. In return, he's been on the receiving end of both drowning and stabbing murder attempts and, at this point in the film, finds himself battered, bleeding, and wearing a Robin costume. To top it all off, Rose's mansion is patrolled by Jacket, a robot that castrates men on sight. WHAT THE FUCK. And then, when we last saw Gillian, Charlene, and Jim, they were on the receiving end of Rose's homicidal rage, her having witnessed the beginning of a romantic subplot involving Charlene and "Robin", whom she believes to be her long lost husband! OH NO!

So after a fast-paced action sequence that involves the houseguests frantically dodging Rose's murderous slashes, the breaking and bloodying of Jim's poor nose (as prophesied earlier by Charlene's alien superpower), and the girls tearfully pleading for Rose to stop the killing and put down the knife, Rose catches Robin by the neck and asks him to marry her one final time. When he refuses, she suffers yet another mental breakdown, wailing hysterically before collapsing in a heap on the floor... and immediately rising with no apparent recollection of the murderous scene that took place just moments ago. In fact, she actually expresses concern over Robin's broken nose! So while her three guests look about nervously, unsure of how to react to this decidedly strange and dangerous situation, Rose sits down and begins mixing up an ointment to treat Jim's wounds.

"Twins Sugar, is sugar, right?""I just knew what is love 30 minutes ago."

While Rose focuses on this task, Gill takes the opportunity to familiarize herself -- and therefore the audience -- with some of the potions in Rose's arsenal. Specifically, she asks about "Twins Sugar", which I guess is supposed to be a cute joke about the film's stars, seeing as how their pop group is called "Twins" and the two varieties of sugar, "Gil Sugar" and "Sa Sugar", apparently refer to Gill and Charlene (one of whose nicknames is "Sa"). How adorable! But Twins Sugar is not as it seems, for when one person ingests Gil Sugar and another eats Sa Sugar, whatever the second person says will be spoken by the first! Observe. Yes, a madwoman is in possession of mystical drugs that, despite their cute names, could theoretically be used to dastardly political effect and employed in ingenious world domination schemes. Shit, you could do anything with stuff like this. Assuming you could slip some Gil Sugar into the President's food, you could induce him to order that nukes be launched at Iran, thereby setting in motion events that would probably result in the end of the world. You could make wealthy people enter into binding verbal agreements with you to give you all of their money. You could get Winona Ryder to proclaim her undying love for you and propose to you on national television -- and while the marriage probably wouldn't happen absent some cognitive dissonance on Winona's part, damned if you wouldn't have bragging rights for the rest of your life! Anyway, remember how Gillian will beat the shit out of anyone who says her full name? Well, since Rose made her say her own name, she proceeds to slap and strangle herself.

Once Gill has calmed down, Rose stands and demands to know how Jim's nose got injured. It seems like she's regained some semblance of sanity, considering that she no longer believes Jim to be her Robin, but as soon as they tell her how and why she pummeled poor Jim, she loses it again, wailing and beating the wall and pining for her lost love. Seeing Rose on the verge of yet another violent breakdown, Jim acts quickly, telling her that with her fighting skill she should be policing the city and thwarting crimes. After all, she's supposed to be a superheroine! So when Rose leaves to get properly dressed for the occasion, Jim brings the girls close and reveals his true plan -- and where before the girls wanted to stay, they're ready to get the fuck out of there too after having witnessed the dangerous extent of Rose's insanity. See, they'll all go out together, and when Rose's attention is diverted, they'll slip the "Tricky Capsule" into her drink. And then, when she's out cold, they escape! HA! HA! HA! It's such a fiendish plan that the three of them throw back their heads and laugh like supervillains.

"It's midnight now, they still haven't turned down the volume.""My 'Unbeaten Cloth' is safe."

Next, we find our heroes in seated in a restaurant, with Rose starting to suspect that something's up and Jim trying desperately to get her to pursue some bullshit offense so they can slip her the Tricky Capsule. Meanwhile, next door, two kung-fu masters are demonstrating their fighting powers to each other by performing such awesome feats as slurping down hot soup and eating three fish balls at once, which I assume is a parody of another movie or general trend in HK comedies that portrays eating as a mark of martial arts mastery, because it makes no sense whatsoever to me. Anyway, the "Unbeaten Cloth" master and the "Invincible Mask" master are so impressed with the other's ability to eat food that they propose a union between their two schools.

Suddenly, "fighting powder" begins to filter in through the vents, prompting Rose to order Gill and Charlene to "freeze their noses" and also providing them with the necessary distraction to deposit the Tricky Capsule in Rose's drink. Rose immediately hops to her feet and suggests that they hit the road, Jim urges her to have that drink first, and the girls, having inhaled the fighting powder, start trying to kick each other's ass. Then a bunch of guys from next door crash through the wall, and we see that the kung-fu clans that were once on the brink of a partnership are now duking it out on the floor of the restaurant! FIGHTING POWDER MAKES PEOPLE FIGHT! And apparently the Tricky Capsule "affects the maker, not the user," which we learn as Rose takes a sip of the drink and both Gillian and Charlene quickly pass out. One more time: If you give someone the Tricky Capsule, and that person uses it, the drug affects you. More nonsense! But think, if they passed these things off as roofies, date rape incidents might be considerably reduced! Hurrah for practical uses for stupid, nonexistent drugs. So as the kung-fu fighting chaos erupts, we cut at intervals to the legs of a group of women heading towards the restaurant -- and we know that the notorious LavenCamp gang is on its way.

"I tell you don't fight.""My dear daughter, your face gets thinner."

By the time the LavenCamp girls make the scene, Jim has fled with the unconscious Charlene in tow and Rose has single-handedly mopped the floor with everyone in the restaurant. Then we're treated to some humorous dialogue between Rose and Miss Lavencam, during which Rose criticizes the gang leader's opening and tells her to be more cool. And then, during their one-on-one battle, she embarrasses the crap out of Lavencam by telling her that she's too thin and offering to cook her a meal! You see, Lavencam used to be Rose's pupil, but for some reason or another decided to play out the traditional role of the rebellious daughter, except when one's "mother" is a superheroine rebelling entails becoming a slutty criminal and running amok with a gang of ruthless cosplayers. And though Rose parries her daughter's attacks with apparent ease, she injures her back during the battle, prompting her to drop a smoke bomb and retreat with the still sleeping Gill draped over one shoulder.

Oh, and just when you thought things were starting to make sense, we cut to a scene in which it is revealed that Jim and Charlene can communicate telepathically -- and aside from further establishing their gooey romantic connection and letting the audience know that Charlene is one of those rare women who won't be upset with her man even if he drops a bloody, rolled up piece of tissue on her, it serves no purpose whatosever.

"to eat the ecstasy.""We are your apprentice."

When they get back to Rose's mansion, after having seen the danger that LavenCamp presents and learning how Rose fought to get them out of harm's way in spite of their betrayal, the girls and Jim agree to become her apprentices so that they can take down the bad guys and make the streets once again safe for law-abiding citizens and puppies to roam unimpeded. This information is conveyed, by the way, in the course of a really strange musical number... and then we witness the girls' metamorphasis into lean, mean, crimefighting machines in a training montage straight out of Jackie Chan's Drunken Master. Seriously.

Drunken fist, Twins style!Wooooooooo!
"Spiderman, Spider!"Training with hoops.
Love those facial expressions!A rooster watches.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Anyway, after another pointless romantic scene in which Gill utilizes Twins Sugar to make Charlene confess her undying love to Jim, we cut to the home of a millionaire...

If you've gotta die...Twins Power!

...where the secret to "becoming a rich" is revealed. Unfortunately, riches also have to worry about being kidnapped by armed villainesses in skimpy bathing suits, which we learn as the LavenCamp trip attacks the astute millionare poolside and kills his bodyguards as he runs off and hides in a dark garage. Oh, and how did LavenCamp get onto the millionaire's property, you ask? Was it by scaling the wrought-iron fence surrounding his countless acres? Did they tunnel underneath the land, like Jim did to break into Rose's mansion? No! They posed as hookers. Yep. But just as Lavencam corners the wealthy man and is about to kidnap him, the new Black Roses enter and save the day in a rather lackluster fight scene! Then we're treated to another montage that establishes the girls as a well-known crimefighting force, because the movie's almost over and, with the majority of the flick thus far having been squandered on pointless romantic crap and insanely violent attempts at "comedy", showing us something interesting like a few of the girls' adventures would put us way over the film's allotted runtime. So after Charlene suggests that the pair could generate more publicity by masquerading as lesbians, we skip straight to the final battle between the Roses and the LavenCamp gang, which, unbeknownst to the girls, has broken into Rose's mansion and is holding the matriarch hostage.

"Dog is dog!"

Actually, no we don't -- first we have another scene of pointless comedic bullshit in which the girls and Jim get all mixed up and confused in Jim's underground tunnel, since they return home to find the place sealed off with skin-ulcerating wisteria and must enter the house through alternate means. As you see here, Jim apparently learned to dig tunnels from Billy of the Family Circus. Hilarious! Unfortunately for our heroic trio, however, when the they surface in the bathroom they find the members of LavenCamp waiting for them.

So they fight. It's actually a fairly good sequence, with Chris Yen (the younger sister of Donnie Yen, well-known Hollywood fight choreographerand the director of this film) displaying some impressive moves as the nunchaku- wielding schoolgirl, but it's also interesting that some of the seemingly pointless events from earlier in the film are actually being capitalized on in this battle. Just moments ago we saw the girls use Jim's tunnel to enter the mansion, and now the shotgun-wielding LavenCampette is taken out by Jacket, as the robot takes her gun to be "a dick-like object" and makes with the snipping. Fortunately for her, the Castraticon doesn't kill her -- it just gives her a terrible haircut that leaves her wailing like an infant and prompts Jim to stand over the defeated woman and laugh like a maniac. Is he laughing at the irony of the situation, given that a robot built to castrate and murder men just saved a man's life, or is he merely a sadist? Meanwhile, after an extended battle involving golden pans and the requisite Matrix parody, Gill and Charlene defeat the shuriken-tossing LavenCampette and Yen-chan and discover Rose hanging from the ceiling in the foyer. But where's Lavencam?

There she is! Lavencam leaps down from her perch on the stairs and manhandles the girls in a vicious display of pussy power, bodyslamming them and following up with elbow drops and flying stomps while sticking her arms out and roaring like King Kong. Basically, if you've seen Blade II (Donnie Yen handled the fight choreography for that film as well) or a Monday Night RAW matchup, you know how this fight is going. It's fucking brutal, and while the girls are getting crushed by Lavencam, Rose is dangling from the ceiling going on about how thin her "daughter" looks and how she'd like to come down and make her something to eat. She's not going hungry, though -- at intervals, much like a cheap boss character that recharges or increases its power during the course of a battle, Lavencam pauses to pop a handful of pills... and can you see where this is going?

"Gil Sugar..."Nice shot!
"Gillian Old!"Now you've done it...

Remember how Charlene's supposed to be an alien being with the superpower? Well, when Rose's medicine table is smashed, knocking a bunch of drugs to the floor -- including Twins Sugar -- Charlene uses her alien powers to make a pill of Gil Sugar fly across the room and drop directly into Lavencam's mouth! And remember how Gillian will flip the fuck out if you say her name? Eating a piece of Sa Sugar, Charlene takes the opportunity to make Lavencam say the forbidden words... prompting Gill to hulk out, lose her mind, and spank the holy hell out of Lavencam's ass as Charlene makes the villainess insult herself by shouting, "I bitch..." and, "My mouth smells bad..." And following a few bodyslams, a moonsault, and a fall down the rollercoaster tunnel that we're never quite certain if Lavencam survived, the new Roses are victorious over the LavenCamp gang and everybody's happy. Jim appears to congratulate them, Rose (now sporting a Bride of Frankenstein hairdo from hanging upside down for so long) decides she's going to take a vacation to find herself a man, the new Roses decide to come along, and I breathe a sigh of relief because this insane crap is finally over.

"Wishing you prosperity and wealth."

I think this is the only DVD I own that actually features the cast of the movie coming together to wish health and prosperity to the viewer. On the one hand, it's the least they could do after wasting the last hour and a half of my life with pointless HK bullshit and violent slapstick guaranteed to deplete my karma for laughing at it, but it's still a pretty refreshing gesture. I'm reminded of the old Capcom games that thanked YOU at the end of the credits.

So, Protégé de la Rose Noire. What to say about it? It's a strange movie, to be sure, but is it worth the price of admission? I suppose that depends on what you're looking for. For the $5 I paid for it, the box images of Ekin Cheng dressed as Robin and the Twins refrigerator magnets alone -- to say nothing of the privilege of adding this insane DVD to the collection -- made it a worthy purchase. Of course, as a comedy, the movie fails. Hardly anything in it makes sense, but it's difficult to enjoy the film for that reason because the jokes for the most part fall to violent slapstick -- and while I exaggerated my disgust at poor Jim's pummelling, it does get kind of old to see this guy abused time and time again for the sake of humor. However, if you just can't get enough of Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons, this just might be your bag. And as a martial arts flick, despite an impressive battle or two -- with the fight against Chris Yen far overshadowing the sillier boss fight against Lavencam; Rose's fight in the restaurant is also highly watchable -- most of the action pales in comparison to that of the films Protégé's battles tend to mimic (Drunken Master, The Matrix, etc.). But if you like goofy, unconventional films that are obvious attempts to capitalize on the fame of super cute celebrities of whom you may or may not have heard -- to say nothing of the interest factor that the history of the Black Rose lends to the film -- it's certainly worth a rental. And it's a foreign film, which means you can watch it and call yourself cultured in spite inspite of all the insane crap happening onscreen. Let's hear it for pretention!

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