Jet Li plays second fiddle to young stars
BADGES OF FURY (PG)
Action comedy/98 minutes
ONE might expect a high-octane cop thriller with the casting of Jet Li and a title like Badges Of Fury.
But this film is hardly about the legendary action star, who takes on the role of Huang Fei Hong - not the gongfu master, but a seasoned and jaded cop.
In fact, the veteran actor plays second fiddle to his younger partner, the overenthusiastic, fumbling Wang Bu Er (played by China's Wen Zhang).
In this film, the 28-year-old Wen has a whole lot more screentime than the 50-year-old Li, who seems content to languish in the background, making his presence felt sporadically with quirky dialogues and fights.
The crime-fighting duo are bossed around by their female supervisor, Angela (played by Taiwan's Michelle Chen).
The movie is really a huge hare-brained comedy, right from the premise of the plot.
The trio are tasked to track down a serial killer with an unusual modus operandi that leaves his victims smiling.
The investigation leads to aspiring actress Jinshui (played by China's Liu Shishi of mega China drama Scarlet Heart fame), a prime suspect who has dated all the victims.
There's more than meets the eye to this case, especially when Jinshui's buxomy stepsister, Dai Yi Yi (played by China's Liu Yan) appears.
The sexy anchorman -turned-actress is clearly there to draw the eyeballs with her cleavage-bearing attire.
The movie goes off on a tangent, with fight scenes peppered with over-the-top special effects.
It's a waste not showing off the real deal. Li puts up a pretty exciting fight in the final brawl, but his finishing blow is, sadly, CGI-assisted.
While it's refreshing to see the usually-stoic Li in a funny role, Wen is the one with comedic potential.
The latter has no qualms hamming it up for the camera - flashing his underwear and donning a mini kilt.
Audiences can play a game of "spot the stars", thanks to a string of actors making cameo appearances, such as Hong Kong stars Raymond Lam and Michael Tse, and Chinese actor Huang Xiao Ming.
The film squeezes in too many elements, leaving one bewildered by the numerous A-list actors and tropes of the crime, romance, action and comedy genres.
At the end of the day, I'm not too sure what the movie is, but I do know it ain't a Jet Li movie.
Badges Of Fury is screening in cinemas islandwide.