Stephen Shin's "Black Cat" (at the Nuart) is Hong Kong's answer to "La Femme Nikita"--and also to its American remake, "Point of No Return." As such, it packs plenty of punch and should please devout fans of Hong Kong action flicks. There are several virtuoso set pieces, but John Woo has nothing to fear.
The film divides neatly into three half-hour parts. The first is composed entirely of deftly sustained nonstop action--with plenty of Hong Kong-style violence--as a truck driver, apparently somewhere in Upstate New York, makes the literally fatal mistake of coming on too strong to a waitress (Jade Leung) at a truck stop cafe. Leung quickly wastes him, then a cop plus several others before she's shot down herself.
When she regains consciousness she finds herself in the hands of the CIA, which has had implanted in her brain a microchip designed to emit periodic jolts of pain that can be relieved only by a medication doled out by the agency.
She has no alternative but to spend the next year in training to become a CIA superagent. This takes up another half-hour of screen time almost as lively as the first section. At last, she's ready to be turned loose, and is assigned to Hong Kong, where she is to work as a photojournalist--and where she falls in love with another photographer (Thomas Lam).