Easy Money (1987) / Action-Thriller
MPAA Rated: Not rated
Running Time: 92 min.
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, George Lam, Kent Cheng
Director: Steven Shin
Screenplay: Chi-hoi Pang, Ka-Fai Wai, Kwong Kim Yip
Review published February 6, 2000
If you are one who wants to limit Michelle Yeoh to action-only movies and see her only as a kung fu only actress instead of just an actress (and she is a good actress, so why pigeonhole her?), you might as well skip EASY MONEY. It's a Hong Kong flick of a different breed, and pays respect to Hollywood caper films much more than in a desire to please Hong Kong action fans. One could easily slam EASY MONEY for being a THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR knockoff, but it admits it within the film itself, so consider this more of an homage. As long as you understand this, enjoy. It's a pleasant diversion from the norm.
Yeoh plays a millionaire playgirl who commits elaborate heists, not so much for the money as for the fun of playing games with the police and getting away with it. In EASY MONEY, she gathers together people from all over the world to commit armed robbery of an armored car on a Hong Kong highway. The police inspector as well as the insurance agent find clues which point to Yeoh, but no hard evidence of her involvement or where the money went. George Lam play the insurance man out to nab her, and finds himself getting a little too close to remain objective.
It isn't nearly as good as the Steve McQueen incarnation, but I do like this one better than the recent remake with Pierce Brosnan. It is relatively low-budget, but the cast is likeable, and good use of locations keeps the story interesting. Yeoh looks terrific as the playgirl, and although she doesn't kick anyone's ass during the course of the film, she is still an appealing enough actress to care about this, giving her character a certain vulnerability despite her seeming invincibility. Although this film is relatively boring if you've seen the original THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, it's likeable enough to garner a recommendation for Yeoh fans looking to see her in a different type of role and crime caper buffs.
©1998 Vince Leo