AKA: Thunder Cop
Director: Stanley Tong
Producer: Andre E. Morgan, Stanley Tong, Barbie Tung
Writer: Stanley Tong
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Norika Fujiwara, Mark Dacascos, Leehom Wang, Coolio, Ruby Lin, Jennifer Lin, Kenneth Low
Running Time: 103 min.
Wanna know why I like Stanley Tong? Because he is a guy who must have sleepless nights trying to figure out how the heck he’s going to get a motorcycle on top of a double-decker bus. He’s a guy who probably wonders out loud “Can Coolio do kung fu?”; and says “Forget that Jackie hanging from a helicopter crap. Let do one better!”; and asks “Can Aaron Kwok’s hair actually move?”
Needless to say, Tong’s Chinese Strike Force is an effort to make a bigger, better action movie. Unfortunately, you feel that he judges success by the amount of wrecked cars and mangled stunt men and not by creating any emotional attachment to his characters or telling an interesting story. It is because of this that Chinese Strike Force comes off as a hollow exercise in complicated physical mayhem.
CSF follows the adventures of two agents (one of them is Kwok) as they chase bad guy Mark Dacascos and LA gang-banger Coolio who are planning a big drug deal along with the help of a skillful and beautiful Japanese chick.
Filmed mostly in English, the acting is truly a bore. It isn’t exactly a good thing when American rapper Coolio turns in the best performance. Kwok, who looks like the Asian Gumby, acts like he doesn’t quite understand what he is saying. Dacascos comes off as nothing but a typical sneering bad guy. The rest of the cast just kinda wanders around until they get behind the wheel or find a gun in their hands or are, uh . . . suspended on a giant pane of glass hanging by a crane connected to a skyscraper. You get the picture. A couple plot twists are thrown in, but who really cares? For the most part, I was just waiting for some more excitement.
Fortunately, excitement comes in some heavy doses as Tong gives you a wild car chase involving an Indy car and a Lamborghini, another insane chase with the aforementioned double-decker bus, several lively fistfights and finally a Supercop-topping finale.
Tong clearly is a guy who should stick with stunt coordinating and producing but save the actual filmmaking for more complete directors. I am trying not to make this a slam because what Tong does with his imagination and skills as a stuntman are truly amazing.
Reefer’s Rating: 5/10
By Ben Poppel
Wow, what a disappointment. The way this movie starts out, you get the feel that it’s going to be an all out action bonanza buffet. But what we get instead is a big ball of cheese. What the hell was Coolio doing in this movie anyway, he used more terrible potty-mouthed one liners than the guys from Night at the Roxberry, I just hope he had nothing to do with the writing of his own lines. At least the almost always cool Aaron Kwok was pretty up to par in this movie. And Talking about pretty, the Japanese co star was probably the highlight of the film.
Now, I can’t say this is a flat out terrible movie – It had a few nice set pieces and crazy stunts, with the help of some wire work, but you talk about a terrible ending. I know some Hong Kong movies are trying to go for that Hollywood look and feel, but give me a break, the ending was just too unrealistic! Overall, It has the look and feel of a low-budget Mark Dacascos movie…oh wait a minute he was in this film too with the help of director Stanley Tong. But the good action was just too few and far between and was filled with dialogue (which is over half in English) and lousy plot lines that are overused.
This will probably be released in America in a year or so and have a big picture of Coolio and Mark Dacascos on the poster art. Nevertheless, this will probably be a movie you will either love or hate.
Ben Poppel’s Rating: 6/10