Secret agent Cleopatra Wong makes a pact with Lucifer and becomes one of Code Red’s DEVIL’S THREE.
When they tire of the abusive treatment of Singapore criminal kingpin Lucifer Devlin (Johnny Lewis, MAGNUM 44), his chief men – hook-handed pimp Manny (Dick Adair, SHE DEVILS IN CHAINS), casino heavy Mo (stuntman Danny Rojo, REVENGE OF THE DRAGON), and drug pusher Jackson “The Horse” (Ted Deelman) – decide to take over his operations by kidnapping and ransoming his spoiled daughter Debbie (Cynthia Rodrigo) during their trip to Manila. Unable to trust his own men, Devlin – nicknamed “The Devil” – must turn to his worst enemy: Singapore secret agent Cleopatra Wong (Marrie Lee, TARGET SCORPION). She is amused by his turn of fortune but agrees to help him for his daughter’s sake. Principled as she is, Cleopatra does not want money; instead, she wants Devlin to surrender in exchange for his daughter’s return. Since she are dealing with Manila’s (and Singapore’s) criminal underworld, Cleopatra realizes that she’ll need some unlikely allies; so she recruits flamboyant gay ex-cop Terry (Franco Guerrero, THE ONE-ARMED EXECUTIONER) and genuine psychic Madame Rotunda (Florence Carvajal) – all three hundred pounds of her – and they individually take on Manny, Mo, and Jackson (and all three of them strike out). Cleopatra follows up on a hunch that leads them to hideout where they have Debbie stashed and headlong into danger; but will the “The Devil” keep up his end of the bargain he has made with Cleopatra if she survives the battle?
Director Bobby Suarez’s follow-up to his own CLEOPATRA WONG – released on disc by Dark Sky in a double bill with THE ONE-ARMED EXECUTIONER – DEVIL’S THREE may be the very definition of entertainingly-bad. It’s not unintentionally funny because it’s a dubbed, low-budget action movie; it’s intentionally jokey – I’m also guessing that Suarez knew how the dubbing would turn out – and only just misses the mark at being family friendly. There are plenty of cheap jokes around Rotunda’s eating and Terry’s flamboyancy – he was kicked out of the police force for taking kickbacks, not being gay – as well as much mugging for the camera by Devlin and Manny. There’s also some off-color jokes made by and about Terry (“I’m a virgin with references”) and how Manny “handles” himself with his hook hand, but no nudity and little bloodshed. Lee appears to be an actual martial artist, but the fight scenes are rather lackadaisically-choreographed – I swear in some scenes you can see her opponents reaching for her hands or arms specifically so that they can be flipped over by her – with fast cuts and a sped-up camera attempting to make the scenes more dynamic (as such, the fight scenes are more entertaining for their length and the relentless enthusiasm of the stunt doubles). The climax is a bit open-ended as if anticipating a sequel (Wilson’s Devlin is not listed in the cast of Suarez’s THE RETURN OF THE BIONIC BOY in which IMDb lists Lee as playing Cleopatra Wong). Suarez is no Cirio Santiago – who was by no means a master craftsman but at least refined his style over five decades – but DEVIL’S THREE is still as entertaining as any other Filipino action film I’ve seen so far. Ken Metcalfe – an actor who appeared in several Filipino exploitation films by the likes of Cirio H. Santiago (and also penned TNT JACKSON) and Eddie Romero while serving as local casting director on a number of Philippines-lensed Hollywood films like THE BOYS IN COMPANY C and ENTER THE NINJA – appears briefly during the casino sequence.
Released stateside theatrically by Terry Levine’s Aquarius Releasing and on VHS as part of the augmented “Sybil Danning’s Adventure Video”, DEVIL’S THREE comes to DVD courtesy of Code Red in a single-layer, progressive, anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer that must look as good as this cheaply shot and processed film can (the saturated red gels and end credits background indicate that the otherwise dull colors are the fault of the production design and wardrobe). The first reel contains some lime green vertical scratches while the subsequent reels are cleaner with infrequent white scratches and digs. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono is fine with the post-dubbed dialogue and the score – including the cheesy theme song – sounding more forceful than any of the foley work during the fight scenes. The sole extras are the film’s trailer (4:01) and trailers for IF HE HOLLERS, LET HIM GO!, MY OLD MAN'S PLACE, CHANGES, DEVIL'S EXPRESS and TERMINAL ISLAND. (Eric Cotenas)
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