Pickaxe War

Cynthia Khan replaces Michelle Yeoh in this series entry, a change that also brings altered tone and increased action. Khan isn’t Yeoh, but she’s more than capable in dodging cars, gunfire, and strikes. Plus, her facial expressions when fighting always suggest her underdog status, conveying her opponent’s strength each time they punch.

Like the prior Yes, Madam, In the Line of Duty III’s focus lies more with the villains, a particularly cruel, vicious duo who coldly gun down civilians. In their starring moment, they share a kiss in front of an explosion, intimate as people die in the blaze.

In the Line of Duty III uses this wild, at times even absurd actioner to debate principled public service

Following the pattern set before, In the Line of Duty III opens on an elaborate heist sequence, then uses that to build an aggressive plot that cuts across international borders. Tracking the pair who killed his partner, co-star Hiroshi Fujioka shows a brutal side, willing to defy Hong Kong’s laws to take out the movie’s antagonists. The back-and-forth between law and vengeance keeps the story engaging away from the action, if edited to a bare minimum; In the Line of Duty III feels choppy as a result, its critical flaw.

When not speeding through the narrative bits, In the Line of Duty III concerns morality in policing, a sharp, well-developed thematic device considering the viciousness on display. “The law is there to protect the villains!” shouts the frustrated Fujioka, overwhelmed by a need to avenge his partner. More than mere cultural differences between Hong Kong and Japan, In the Line of Duty III uses this wild, at times even absurd actioner to debate principled public service.

Being a Hong Kong genre film, the brawls favor ridiculously dangerous choreography and illogical setups, but therein is the joy. Khan capably holds her own against Michiko Nishiwaki, another imposing fighter and frequent stuntwoman/choreographer. The ludicrous design doesn’t diminish the drama because the overall tenor is so outrageously violent, there’s no time to consider whether logic plays a part.


Avoiding pitfalls noticed in the previous two film’s transfers, In the Line of Duty III doesn’t suffer any unneeded filtering or processing, remaining naturally clear. Grain spikes, but holds together well enough to retain the filmic qualities. Detail thus thrives, defined, crisp, and pure. Texture shows everywhere.

Generous color replication gives flesh tones vivid pop and depth. Primaries saturate, giving the images wow factor. The aesthetic veers cool, but not digitally so. In the Line of Fire III retains an organic purity.

Black levels, while still not at their deepest depths, still suffice in delivering needed dimensionality. Depth proves striking at its best. Contrast richly invites brightness into the frame, rich, bold, and vibrant.


Choose either the original Cantonese language subtitled or an English dub in mono, both DTS-HD. Breaking down at the score’s highest peaks, the treble suffers from an obnoxiously high pitch. That’s only at the highest levels though, the rest flat but stable. Sound effects resolve cleanly and any mass of gunfire holds together. It’s not great, but serviceable.


88 Films sends genre expert Frank Djeng into the recording booth with Michael Worth. An older interview with John Sham joins trailers.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

In the Line of Duty III
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Even without Michelle Yeoh, In the Line of Fire III has plenty of fire and consistently impressive action.

User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 28 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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