Gen-X Cops (1999) / Action-Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for violence and language
Running Time: 113 min.
Cast: Nicholas Tse, Stephen Fung, Sam Lee, Grace Yip, Eric Tsang, Daniel Wu
Director: Benny Chan
Screenplay: Benny Chan, Koan Hui, Yee-Wah Lee, Peter Tsi
Review published April 19, 2000
One of the reasons I enjoy Hong Kong action flicks is because, while they are clearly influenced by Hollywood action movies, they break the mold by injecting them with lots of humor and panache, and at least when done well, they have a style all their own. It breaks my heart to see a film like GEN-X COPS, a film that is so derivative of American action blockbusters of late, I'm surprised Jerry Bruckheimer's name wasn't attached to it.
Apparently there're some explosives seized in a raid by Hong Kong police, which are promptly taken by some Japanese gangsters who plan to use it for their own terrorist purposes. The police have no one within the department convincing enough to enter the underground world of the criminals with authority until a trio of gen-x recruits join the force, who aren't far removed from the culture themselves. They go undercover and discover themselves caught between a rock and a hard place with warring gangs and jealous boyfriends.
The only good thing I can say about GEN-X cops is that it features some of the most impressive stunts I've ever seen in a movie. They are so good in fact, that if the scenes in between these stunt pieces were at least mediocre, I could have easily still given this film a recommendation. Unfortunately, the reality is that every non-action scene is such piss-poor garbage that calling them mediocre would have been a rave review.
Imagine my annoyance when three young men resembling Hong Kong's version of N'Sync are supposed to be seen as badass killing machines who are smart, funny and irresistible to women, all the while as vicious as any of the worst criminals in the underbelly of Hong Kong. They primp and pose for the female audience, with all the personality of male underwear models, and with the most tepid of sense of humors which involves nothing more than appearing irreverent despite the serious occurrences of death and mayhem around them (as if CHARLIE'S ANGELS wasn't bad enough!). There wasn't a single moment they were onscreen that I wasn't hoping one of the baddies would perform a Mortal Kombat-style spine extraction on all three of them. *sigh* If only...
If the three male leads weren't bad enough to endure, the plot is just as ill-conceived as the characters. The protagonists end up having three enemies to fight during the course of the movie, and for reasons only known to the director, two of them end up fighting for the cause of good with no explanation as to why before the end of the film. The entire cast plays well-over the top, as if sheer loudness would be enough to inspire humor and/or menace with every line delivered.
GEN-X COPS delivers an insulting barrage of blows to the intelligence and does so without mercy or redemption. Only the worst of filmgoers, and by these I mean the eye-candy lovers who are entertained by guns and explosions regardless of storyline (you know...the ones that thought GONE IN 60 SECONDS was a kick-ass movie), could possibly find anything within the film to be throughly entertained. Damn those stunts are sure impressive, but they just aren't enough to make this good. If you're going to watch GEN-X COPS, I recommend bringing along a book to read in between the action.
©2000 Vince Leo