Operation Scorpio | aka Scorpion King (1992) Review

"Operation Scorpio" French DVD Cover

“Operation Scorpio” French DVD Cover

Director: David Lai
Writer: David Chan, Barry Wong
Producer: Chan Pooi Wa
Cast: Chin Kar Lok, Lau Kar Leung, Kim Won Jin, Frankie Chin, May Lo, Wu Fung, Victor Hon Kwan, David Lo, Yuen Shun Yee, Yuen Tak, Fruit Chan Gor, Ricky Cheung, Lau Sek Yin, Tiffany Lau, Sai Gwa Paau, Sin Ho Ying, Tony Tam, Wang Han Chen, Yuen Mao
Running Time: 96 min.

By Yi-Long

Life is unfair! Why, easy! In a fair world, Kim Won Jin would have been a household name around the world by now, starring in movies with Jet Li, Jackie Chan and in movies like Crouching Tiger and The Matrix and Star Wars. In a perfect world, this guy would have been a millionaire, a legend, an idol…

Why!? Just watch him in this movie! After sending in a demo-tape showcasing his amazing abilities, he was asked to appear in this movie and what an appearance it is! Without this guy, this movie would have been BAD! It’s just another lackluster kung story about a young guy, played by Chin Kar Lok, who wants to learn kung fu to protect those who can’t protect themselves from evil.Nothing original there, just the typical boy-hood fantasy; become strong to defeat the bullies and make the world a happy happy joy joy place. Too bad for Chin Kar Lok then, but I was rooting for the bad guy in this one.

The kicking and athletic stuff Kim Won Jin shows here is simply incredible. This guy kicks like he’s in a computer game or something and jumps all over the place. Sure, some of it is wire-assisted, but a lot of it ISN’T! Forget about Ken Lo in Drunken Master 2 and forget about Whang Jan Lee; This is the new ‘Boot-master!’. It has to be seen to believe.

This movie shows why a talented guy like Chin kar Lok is totally unsuitable to play a leading man. He lacks the screen-presence, the comedy, the charisma, the ‘WHOOMP-THERE IT IS!’ other stars like Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Sammo DO have. I think his brother, Chin Siu Ho would have made a better leading man in this movie (considering his acting ability and charisma he showcased in Fist of Legend among some other movies). The supporting cast is also a mixed bag. The girl is non-impressive, the bodybuilder IS impressive, because although he’s amazingly muscular, he comes across as a confident, smart and bright guy. Lau Kar Leung plays his usual sifu-role with no surprises anywhere, although the fight he has at the end is pretty good against multiple assailants using a 3-sectional staff and a normal staff(especially considering his age; over 50 years old I guess).

The story, as I said before, is quite poor and you also shouldn’t expect any great cinematography. It’s pretty old-fashioned in style actually which is a shame because although Kim Won Jin is extremely talented and it certainly shines through big-time in this movie, the fight scenes could have been even better with some better camera-work. Another downpoint to the fight-scenes is that none of his opponents really look powerful, not even the lead Chin Kar Lok. In Fact, CKL looks like a wimp all the way through this movie, right till the ridiculous ending where he uses some weird crawling Eel-Fu (…yeah… the fish(!)…) to try and defeat Sunny.

I like Chin Kar Lok and have a huge respect for the guy and all the stuff he has done, action and stunt-wise, but he doesn’t make a good leading man.

So what we have here is a mediocre kung fu movie brightened up by the amazing kicking talents of Kim Won Jin. It’s a shame about the lack of charisma from the leading man, and a lackluster story, supporting cast and old fashioned cinematography, but it’s still enjoyable stuff nonetheless. Could have been much better though and ‘Sunny’ should have been a major star by now.

Yi-Long’s Rating: 7/10

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