Gen-X Cops (1999)
- Inspector Chan
- Inspector To
Directed by Benny Chan
A Media Asia Films Production
Hong Kong police have cracked a major case of arms smuggling and have seized a major shipment of explosives, only to have them stolen back by a Yakuza gang, led by Akatura (Toru Nakamura). After the original investigating team is wiped out in an explosion engineered by Akatura's gang, the police scramble to find out what he has planned for the rest of the explosives.
Inspector Chan, a bumbling and stumbling veteran of the police force, suggests putting together a team of young undercover cops to infiltrate the triad and Yakuza conspiracy. He takes on three misifts at the academy and puts them behind the lines. Pretty soon, they discover a world of double-crosses and a more menacing plan than the simple sale of explosives to terrorists.
Being an action film, this movie doesn't let down fans of the Hong Kong style of guns, kung-fu, and explosions. The director, Benny Chan, had previous stints directing Jackie Chan (Who Am I?) and Lau Ching-Wan (Big Bullet) in major action movies so he's no slouch in that area. The big shootout in the convention center between police and Yakuza thugs and the final kung-fu fight of 3-against-1 are very well done.
The characters are pretty memorable and this is the movie which made Nicholas Tse a household name in Hong Kong. Never mind that he is already part of a strong family of actors (his father is Patrick Tse, a very popular Hong Kong actor) - this movie allowed him to shine on his own as he handled the most difficult action scenes very well.
Akatura, as portrayed by Toru Nakamura, is also a memorable villain. Nakamura stumbles a bit when he delivers some lines in broken English but he bring a very cool and calculated persona to what is essentially a psychotic bad guy.
The cameos by strong and established actors are very welcome, including Francis Ng and Jackie Chan.
Finally, Haze (Jaymee Ong) is a babe! This woman of mixed heritage (Australian and Chinese) is one hell of a looker.
Okay, you've noticed that the good really focused on the action...which means that the acting isn't exactly one of the movie's strong points. Match (Stephen Fung) is just a pretty boy without a whole lot to do except pine for Haze and look, well, pretty. Alien (Sam Lee) is supposed to provide comedic relief but instead becomes a really annoying presence. Daniel Wu, playing a triad leader here, sneers throughout the movie and listening to him speak Cantonese is very difficult (for those who speak it every day like me) - like Sammo Hung and his English, Wu delivers his Cantonese lines very monotone and emotionless.
The plot isn't exactly unique and takes its inspiration from many other Hollywood type action movies. The whole film felt like a Jerry Bruckheimer production - big explosions, little substance.
And the English title of the movie is really lame!
Gen-X Cops is one of the first films to start the trend of Japanese/Hong Kong co-productions (others include Okinawa Rendevous, Tokyo Raiders, Fulltime Killer). As such, there is quite the number of languages being used - in this film, you can hear Cantonese, Japanese, English, and I believe a little Mandarin is also thrown in for good measure. Plus, you can also hear Daniel Wu-nese, a bizarre derivative of Cantonese that ends up sounding like Klingon!
Okay, I'm a little too harsh on Wu...he has improved dramatically since then.
Overall, an okay way to spend a couple of hours but it won't be all that memorable - except for Jaymee Ong!
- The movie was produced by Media Asia Films, which is run by Jackie Chan.
- Jackie also has a very funny cameo at the end of the film.
- Nicholas Tse, Stephen Fung, and Daniel Wu were raised in North America but returned to Hong Kong to start their acting careers. While Tse and Fung both speak Cantonese fluently, Wu was still learning how to enunciate properly at the time of filming. Wu is now much better with his Cantonese and has moved into bigger and better roles recently.
- Gen-X Cops went on to earn $30,000,000 HKD, making it one of the top box-office hits of that year.
- A sequel (Gen-Y Cops) was released a year later - it sucks so don't bother.