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Gen-X Cops (1999)

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Starring:

-Nicholas Tse
-Stephen Fung
-Sam Lee
-Daniel Wu
-Toru Nakamura

Synopsis:

A large amount of illegally smuggled explosives have been confiscated by Hong Kong officials. Unfortunately, it is not long before the man behind the smuggling gets them back into his posession. Soon after, a local gang leader is killed. As the HK police begin investigating the murder, one unpopular officer who has a personal link to the case demands a role. In handpicking cadets to help, he picks three trouble-makers that have recently been kicked out of the academy to go undercover. The trio gets into trouble on the case and end up a little too deep undercover. Soon, they'll discover that the murder investigation goes far beyond just this murder case...

Review:

Okay, so the Gen-X undercover cop thing sounds gimmicky. It also sounds like the recipe for disaster (see "Mod Squad") as it could fall prey to being both a generic cop movie and a stupid teenie-bopper flick. Much to the contrary, Gen-X Cops is a stylish, well plotted, and very entertaining film.

Gen-X Cops avoids "teen-flick" syndrome that you might find in many American films. It is a mature film that weaves a solid undercover cop story, while keeping the style in tune with the times. The film is stylish in every way, from the actors to the music to the locales. In addition, the plot is well paced and has its share of twists and turns. The most impressive thing about the film is its ability to strike the chord of Gen-X while remaining mature and avoiding becoming condescending. It should hit the chords best with people in their late teens or twenties. Gen-X is not your fourteen year old sister with the Britney Spears CD.

The characters are a great draw to the film. I found that the lead trio in the film each had a unique and interesting personality, from Jack's smooth but serous demeanor to the goofy Alien. In such roles, the performances from the three leads are great, as each actor manages to capture the demeanor of their character in every move. Supporting characters are also pretty solid, with Eric Tsang and his character, Inspector Chan, being noteworthy. Probably the coolest character is the villain, Akatura, with his poetic speeches and unending commitment to revenge. Toru Nakamura is exceptional here to the point that I think of his character every time I see the actor. I always appreciate a good villain, and Akatura is one of my favorite villains of all time.

Action sequences are pretty solid. Despite the inevitable video store categorization as "martial arts", Gen-X Cops features more shooting that fists and feet. Certainly not John Woo material, the shootouts are solid and enjoyable nonetheless. Interaction of the characters during the shootout, high tension, and good use of enviroment make the action enjoyable. The little bit of hand-to-hand action is not kung fu movie material and should be looked at in the context of the film. In such, it is adequate.

Gen-X Cops is a highly enjoyable film. In fact, it has become one of my favorite Hong Kong films. It is impressive how the Gen-X gag, which might have been the downfall had it been done poorly, manages to allow for such a slick, stylish film when done well. Between this slick style, the unique characters, a solid plot, and decent action - we get a great film worthy of many viewings. See it now.

Director:

-Benny Chan

Language/Cuts:

-Original Cantonese/English language.

Grade:

A-

Pictures: