China Strike Force
Director: Stanley Tong
Stars: Aaron Kwok, Noriko Fujiwara, Wang Lee Hom, Ruby Lin, Mark Dacascos, Coolio
One of the oldest gags in a police movie is the "good cop, bad cop" routine. You know, where one cop acts like a jerk and the other like a buddy to get the suspect confused. That's kind of what this movie felt like. There are some parts of this movie that are great -- Hong Kong action at its finest -- but there are others that are so horrible that by the end of the film, I honestly didn't really know what to think about it.
The good bits? As you might expect, it's the action. There are a few sequences that rank among some of the best to come out of Hong Kong from the past few years. My personal favorites are a car chase between a Lambroghini and a Formula 1 race car that goes over, around and through a slew of oncoming traffic, and the ending fight, which takes place on a pane of glass dangling off the end of a skyscraper. It was really refreshing seeing a big-budget Hong Kong action film that didn't depend on CGI like many recent movies -- it even has the wince-inducing blooper reel to prove it. I also enjoyed Noriko Fujiwara, who is not only extremely easy on the eyes (if a pretty girl could be considered "eye candy," then she's the equivalent of a double-dipped mocha chocolate fudge cake), but puts a good turn during the action bits as well.
Now for the bad part, which sadly starts with poor Ms. Fujiwara. Most of her role is in English, and her English is horrible. Honestly, I would just rather have her voice dubbed in -- or, hell, just have her speak in Japanese since we're reading subtitles anyhow -- rather than try and put up with her attempts to mangle the English language. The bad "Engrish" bug also strikes most of the other Asian actors as well, Aaron Kwok (as should come as no surprise with his track record) being the most prominent victim. The scenes with him and Noriko flirting are painful to watch. Speaking of painful, why the hell is Coolio in this movie? All I can figure is that he must have been staying at Stanley Tong's house and they needed a villain. His attempts at acting are just pathetic, and it's not like he's reciting Shakespeare or anything. His catchphrase for the movie is "Yo man, I could get used to this sh*t," which he repeats every time he's on the screen.
As I said before, I really don't know how to rate this movie. The action sequences are great (representing what Hong Kong movies do best), but the rest of the movie is utter crap, highlighting everything wrong with recent Hong Kong movies, right down to a simple plot hampered by an overconvoluted script (Tokyo Raiders, anyone?). China Strike Force is worth a look if you're a hardcore action junkie, but if you want some substance, decent acting or a coherent script, then look elsewhere.
A review of the VCD for this movie can be found here
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