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Badges of Fury
Badges of Fury

Jet Li and Wen Zhang partner up in Badges of Fury.
Chinese: 不二神探  
Year: 2013
Director: Wong Tsz-Ming
Producer: Chui Bo-Chu
Action: Corey Yuen Kwai

Jet Li, Wen Zhang, Michelle Chen Yan-Xi, Liu Shi-Shi, Liu Yan, Stephen Fung Tak-Lun, Bruce Leung Siu-Lung,Raymond Lam Fung, Wu Jing, Kevin Cheng Ka-Wing, Michael Tse Tin-Wah, Michelle Loo, Tian Liang, Tong Dawei, Lo Hoi-Pang,Collin Chou (Ngai Sing), Jun Kung, Conroy Chan Chi-Chung, Jeana Ho Pui-Yu, Huang Xiaoming, Alex Fong Lik-Sun, Stephy Tang Lai-Yun, Samuel Kwok Fung, Tin Kai-Man, Tsui Chi-Hung, Ma Yi-Li, Josie Ho Chiu-Yi, Steven Wong Ka-Lok, Joe Cheung Tung-Cho, Lam Chi-Chung, Leung Ka-Yan, Fung Hak-On, Lam Suet, Zhang Zilin

  The Skinny: Crappy cop comedy won't win any accolades but is unpretentious enough to earn a pass. Okay action, plenty of cameos and average-to-decent laughs make this a solid if completely throwaway time killer. Jet Li is only a supporting player here, though he does fight a lot.
by Kozo:

Judging by his top-billed role in Badges of Fury, Jet Li must be in the “doing favors” portion of his career. The aging action star has gone on record stating that he holds Badges of Fury producer and longtime collaborator Chui Bo-Chu in high regard, and since Badges is directed by Chui’s son Wong Tsz-Ming – well, now it all makes sense. Chui pulled in even more favors: Corey Yuen serves as action director and the film features appearances from the likes of Raymond Lam, Huang Xiaoming, Tong Dawei, Alex Fong Lik-Sun, Stephy Tang, Josie Ho and more. This being a 2013 Hong Kong-China co-production, you need some mainland connection, and it’s there in co-star Wen Zhang, who plays the other “badge” in the title. Taiwan’s Michelle Chen is the lead actress and mainland names Liu Shi-Shi and Liu Yan round out the top-billed five. This large cast seems unwieldy, but most actors only appear in single-scene cameos, and some of the appearances are funny and surprising. Despite – or maybe because of – its status as an insubstantial lark, Badges of Fury proves to be tolerable fun.

Jet Li stars as Huang Fei-Hong (Get it?), an aging cop who’s more concerned with his stock portfolio than arresting bad guys – and yet he always shows up when someone needs their ass kicked. His partner is Wang Bu-Er (Wen Zhang), a daffy cop whose zeal for justice is matched by his knack for embarrassing himself. Along with their completely overmatched team leader Angela (Michelle Chen), the men fight crime and exchange superfluous banter. Between smaller crimes, the trio investigates the “Smile Murders”, where the victims (played by Kevin Cheng, Michael Tse and Tian Liang in cameos) suddenly died while grinning. The link between the three is actress and flower vase extraordinaire Liu Jin-Shui (Liu Shi-Shi), who dated them all before they died. Muddying matters is the fact that the men also dated Jin Shui’s sister Dai Yi-Yi (Liu Yan), a voluptuous vamp who practices voodoo and seems pretty damn guilty at first and second glance. The current man between the two sisters is the intense Gao Min (Raymond Lam), which means a smiling death is likely in his future.

Solving a serial murder case takes wits and intelligence – or, that’s what it would take in a more credible cop movie. But this is Badges of Fury, which seems to take as its inspiration nineties Hong Kong cop comedies that combined lame shtick, paper-thin romance and solid action. Audiences should understand what they’re in for simply from the opening credits, where the actors fly across the screen like bullets shot from a gun. Banter is sometimes clever (the meta-references to the stars are especially fun) but also tiring, with the Wen Zhang and Michelle Chen verbal sparring proving uninteresting rather than spirited. Badges of Fury possesses a slight misogynist streak – Michelle Chen’s character is far too often the butt of verbal and physical gags – though in some ways that political incorrectness is also a callback to older Hong Kong commercial cinema. Entertaining action is served up often; Jet Li and Wen Zhang get into a number of decent, if sometimes over-the-top fights. Their fighting skills are assisted by obvious wirework and unconvincing CGI, but the film’s B-movie qualities largely excuse its cheapness.

Badges of Fury is hit-or-miss largely depending on its audience. Those who expect a Jet Li-dominated affair will be unimpressed; Li is really a supporting player here, turning up for climactic fights and little else. On the other hand, those with knowledge and affection for past Hong Kong Cinema should find much to like. Besides the numerous cameos, there’s the simple fact that the filmmakers made sure that Jet Li would square off against all the name martial arts actors in the film, including Wu Jing and Collin Chou. Also, Badges is delightfully unpretentious, never attempting any meaning or seriousness beyond occasional scenes of Liu Shi-Shi crying or Raymond Lam acting intense. Among the actors, Wen Zhang is the highlight, and handles both the action and comedy with equal competence. Make no mistake, Badges of Fury is not special or even “good”, and possesses so much sloppy silliness that even calling it a film is a bit of a stretch. However, considering the dearth of similar productions and its amiable self-awareness, Badges of Fury gets an easy pass. (Kozo, 6/2013)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson Enterprises
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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