Review: BADGES OF FURY 不二神探 (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Review: BADGES OF FURY 不二神探 (2013)

Don't let the English title fools you -- BADGES OF FURY isn't the usual Jet Li's action vehicle but rather a wildly over-the-top action comedy that plays strictly for broader laughs.

On the surface, it seems that BADGES OF FURY is one of those can't-miss Chinese action-movie blockbusters of the year. First and foremost, it features some of the most highly-acclaimed martial-art actors in one movie -- and they are including Jet Li, Collin Chou, Wu Jing and Leung Siu-Lung! That's not all, it also features two of the promising young actors working today -- Zhang Wen (of JOURNEY TO THE WEST: CONQUERING THE DEMONS fame) and Michelle Chen (of YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE fame) and loads of popular cameo appearances as well. Unfortunately, this Wong Tsz-Ming's feature debut is nothing more than an incoherent mix of genre mishmash that tries hard to blend action, comedy, drama and romance all into one package.


BADGES OF FURY revolves around a young, bumbling detective Wang Bu-Er (Zhang Wen) and a grizzled veteran Huang Fei-Hong (Jet Li), who worked together on a series of murders where all the victims died with a smile on their face. The killer who is dubbed as the "Smile Murders", has so far claimed the lives of a TV star (Kevin Cheng), a ballroom dancer (Michael Tse), a diver (real-life Olympic diver Tian Liang) and a real-estate manager (Tong Dawei). Ironically, all the clues lead to the fact that they had once dated a beautiful film actress Liu Jin Shui (Liu Shishi). But as the investigations goes further, they discover that Liu Jiu Shui's older sister Dai Yiyi (Ada Liu) who loves to seduce men with her cleavage-baring tight dresses, is currently dating Liu's old flame Gao Min (Raymond Lam). That's not all -- as Dai used to steal all of Liu's ex-boyfriends and loves to do despicable things with a voodoo doll. If that's not complicated enough, the story also throws in a couple more red herrings to the mix, including Liu's cousin (Stephen Fung) and Liu's paralyzed uncle (Leung Siu-Lung).

Taken at the face value, this anything-goes action comedy reminds me of the genre-bending HK movies used to populate all over the cinemas during the '80s and the '90s. At times, some of the over-the-top slapsticks are reasonably wacky enough as a guilty-pleasure entertainment while Corey Yuen's gravity-defying, wirework-assisted fighting sequences have its fair share of playful energy. As for the cast, Zhang Wen's clueless expression and his clownish performance as Wang Bu-Er is quite amusing to watch for.

Wong Tsz-Ming's direction is terribly haphazard. Most of the times, the absurd plot seriously requiring you to test how tolerable you can handle for this kind of movie. It's especially disappointing to discover that Jet Li, who receives a top-billing in this movie, is actually plays second fiddle to Zhang Wen. Suffice to say, his character is nothing more than a cardboard cutout appearing mainly to fight off against the bad guys and then disappears for a certain period of time to make ways for wacky scenarios. As Wang Bu-Er's and Huang Fei-Hong's superior officer Angela, Michelle Chen looks too cute and immature to play such role that best reserved for someone else more qualified. The rest of the female co-stars such as Liu Shishi and Ada Liu spend most of their times looking pretty rather than investing for worthwhile performances. As for the action, if you are expecting some genuine fight sequences especially with the appearances of Jet Li, Collin Chou, Wu Jing and Leung Siu-Lung -- it's best for you to seek elsewhere because Corey Yuen and Wong Tsz-Ming are more interested to make them as surreal as possible. Think KUNG FU HUSTLE, and you'll get the idea here.

Overall, BADGES OF FURY is a major disappointment as a so-called Jet Li's action vehicle. But somehow the movie works as a silly time killer. Well, at least it's worth watching than the hopelessly rotten movie called SWITCH.

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