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`Wonder Seven' leaves one pondering inane plot, action

Very few Hong Kong action films are going to win awards for realism. In fact, many of them feature such ludicrous plots that they make even fellow star Jackie Chan's comic thrillers look like documentaries.

But there are some of these films that stretch credibility so far it snaps. And for every one of them that succeeds in spite of its silliness (such as the movies in director Tsui Hark's "Once Upon a Time in China" series), there's an equally inane one like "Wonder Seven."This at-times-exciting, but-more-often-preposterous action-thriller mistakenly pairs China's biggest female action star, Michelle Yeoh, with former Olympic gymnast Li Ning.

Sort of a martial-arts version of TV's "The A-Team," "Wonder Seven" follows an unconventional team of crime-fighters - code-named Fei, Dragon, Monk, Tiny, Nanny, Superman and Steelbar.

The team's deadliest mission to date sends the seven heroes up against a former Red Army colonel and his evil minions, who are trying to get their hands on a credit card that has some encrypted information on it.

Team leader Fei (Ning) falls in love with one of the bad guys, the beautiful but deadly Ying (Yeoh), and during the operation, Dragon is killed - both of which set things up for a confusing but explosive and oddly entertaining finale.

Though it's interesting to see Yeoh play a villain for a change, it obviously doesn't last for long. Also, an unfortunate injury during filming kept Yeoh out of much of the action, and consequently, director Ching Siu Tung was forced to give the dexterous but unexciting Ning the bulk of the fight scenes.

Even Kent Cheng, so memorable as Jet Li's corpulent but skilled fighting sidekick in "Once Upon a Time in China," is wasted in a comic supporting role.

"Wonder Seven" is not rated but would probably receive at least a PG-13 for violent gun and martial-arts fights and mayhem, gore, a few scattered profanities and a couple of vulgar gags.