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Extreme Crisis
|     review    |     notes     |     awards     |     availability     |
Kenya Sawada and Julian Cheung
Year: 1998
Director: Bruce Law Lai-Yin
Action: Bruce Law Lai-Yin
Cast: Julian Cheung Chi-Lam, Kenya Sawada, Shu Qi, Theresa Lee Yi-Hung, Spencer Lam Seung-Yi, Wong Yat-Fei
The Skinny: Every generation has a truly bad film. This generation is no different.
by Kozo:
     For pure production values, no HK film can match the pyrotechnic prowess of Extreme Crisis. Not even The Storm Riders has such a polished look and feel. A lot of money was spent on film, and it shows in every technical aspect from the stunt work to the cinematography. 
     However, this movie absolutely blows. Itís thinly plotted, poorly directed, and questionably acted. The first two faults are expected out of HK nowadays, but when you cast Theresa Lee and Shu Qi in a film and proceed to waste the talents of both, youíve either created an exacting vision or a piece of total crap. Sadly, itís the latter reason that stands here. 
    Julian Cheung Chi-Lam stars as Ken Cheung, a maverick cop who's disdained by his superiors. That doesnít matter because the other cops are total boors who canít arrest shoplifters let alone deal with the threat of an evil Japanese cult that features skinhead members who laugh maniacally for no real reason. Leading the inept cops is Theresa Lee, who was promoted to a high position despite being totally incompetent and unable to load a weapon in a combat situation. Her pitiful law enforcement skills are a sticking point between she and Ken ďRamboĒ Cheung, who often says to her ďWhy canít you act like a cop?Ē Never mind that he disobeys orders and goes rogue in pursuit of the evil cultists. Dammit, Ken KNOWS whatís going to happen, and heís determined to bring justice to this world even if it means the slaughter of untold amounts of innocents. 
     Helping Ken is Japanese action star Kenya Sawada, who you might remember from Thunderbolt, where he played one of Jackie Chanís pachinko parlor playmates. However, Sawada might be better known for his fab role as Captain Sawada in the epic 1994 film Street Fighter: The Movie. The two are pursued by the HK cops, who spend their time staring at tactical displays when theyíve only got 24 hours before the evil cultists release a cloud of Sarin gas. Luckily, the amazing pair stay ahead of the fuzz and manage to track the criminals down at every turn thanks to their keen guesswork and incredible chicken-and-duck-talk communication. That means one guy talks in Chinese while the other responds in English,  but amazingly they understand each other! Right.
     Eventually the bastard cultists take the local TV station hostage, which means Kenís newscaster girlfriend Anita (Shu Qi) is going to be right in the thick of things. Suddenly, Extreme Crisis becomes Die Hard at TVB, and instead of Bruce Willis we have two kick-ass Asian heroes who can do amazing things like slide down elevator cables with their bare hands and not get injured. That little fact is only the beginning for the implausibilities that litter this film, which could fill up a minor skyscraper.
     Director Bruce Law worked on The Final Option, which was renowned for its realism. Sadly, the most authentic thing in this movie is probably Shu Qiís hair - which is a incredibly lustrous when she lets it down to its full length. Her hair is probably a better actor than the majority of the cast, too. It sounds like I hate this movie. Well, the action is decent and there is some impressive stunt work, but it just isnít enough to compensate for the idiocy thatís going on at every other moment. Director Bruce Law should have spent more time on the script and less on his egregious screen credit, which arrives with an obnoxious flourish right after the Extreme Crisis logo. At least Law's ego went home happy. (Kozo 1998)
Notes: • The Cantonese title of this flick is Project B, after the beloved Jackie Chan Project A films. Sadly, Raymond Chow may have dropped the ball here, guaranteeing that there will never be a Project C.
Awards: 18th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best Action Design (Bruce Law Lai-Yin)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

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