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China Strike Force

(left) Lau Siu-Ming and Norika Fujiwara, and (right) Aaron Kwok in China Strike Force.
Chinese: 雷霆戰警  
Year: 2000  
Director: Stanley Tong Kwai-Lai  
Action: Stanley Tong Kwai-Lai, Ailen Sit Chun-Wai
Cast: Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing, Norika Fujiwara, Coolio, Mark Dacascos, Ruby Lin (Lam Sum-Yu), Leehom Wang, Lau Siu-Ming, Paul Chun Pui, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Jackson Lau Hok-Yin
The Skinny: Living proof that decent HK-style action cannot save a movie. The action sequences are well done, but everything else is so sickeningly bad that the movie becomes a potential health risk. Oh, this movie is awful. Stay away! You have been warned.
by Kozo:

This past Christmas, Hong Kong was beset with a rare gift from their local film industry: 6 big movies with big budgets, big stars, international appeal, and all vying to be crowned “King of Christmas Hong Kong Movies.” As of this writing I have seen 5 of the 6 and I gotta say: it’s like I got a bunch of coal this year. 

The nadir of HK’s big bad movie syndrome seemed to be the overstuffed, undercooked, and aptly titled For Bad Boys Only. Well, I can now officially say that there is a Christmas movie worse than that! Yes, Stanley Tong’s eagerly-awaited China Strike Force has become the worst of the worst. The marvelous “plot” cooked up by Tong and some buddy is an incredibly shallow and inept piece of writing that can only be described as a Golan-Globus production with all the good stuff taken out. And that's just the beginning of the inanity.

Sky King Aaron Kwok is Darren, a Shanghai cop and the only actor in this movie that does not share the same name as his onscreen character. Darren is partnered with Alex (Alexander Wong), which is a detail of no importance, except for the fact that they get drawn into an international crime caper run by those geniuses of crime (and acting) Mark Dacascos and Coolio. Coolio plays Coolio (wow!), a South Central bad boy who wants to run drugs in China. 

However, Coolio is thwarted by Ma (Lau Siu-Ming), the kindly crime lord of China. Ma’s underling (Dacascos) decides to betray Ma and facilitate the drug deal, which is where Darren and Alex come in. Ruby Lin is Alex’s girlfriend Ruby, who’s a fashion designer. What that means is we get a fashion show sometime during the course of the film. Ruby doesn’t appear much in the film, but her dad (Paul Chun Pui) is the police chief who leads our two intrepid heroes around. Finally, Japanese supermodel Norika Fujiwara plays Norika (what a surprise!), a Japanese Interpol agent who doesn’t seem to carry any credentials. Norika is trying to get even with Coolio because he killed her partner. How she relates to Darren and Alex is a mystery, but of course Darren is enchanted by her generous figure so we must pay attention with all our might. 

After a few opening action sequences that promise some brain-dead fun, the film moves into its 80 minute filler section as we discover the truth behind the drug deal and we witness the incredible policework and investigation that solves the case. Well, actually we don’t. People just kind of walk into crime scenes at appropriate moments, whereupon fighting or long stretches of poor dialogue occur. And sadly, that dialogue explains nothing. GET IT STRAIGHT, NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE IN THIS MOVIE. All we get between action sequences is just talking. It doesn’t even advance the plot, because there is none! None of which to speak! My god, tshe two or three scenes where Shu Qi asks Ekin Cheng for water in For Bad Boys Only represents an artistic breakthrough of epic proportions compared to the fantastic interplay between Mark Dacascos and Coolio (which actually seems to take up 30 MINUTES of screen time). At the very end of the film we manage to get some entertaining action sequences, but the time it took to get there could have made Buddha go postal. 

Okay, here are the good things: the fighting is well choreographed, the stuntwork is impressive, Norika Fujiwara is terrific eye candy, and Alexander Wong and Ruby Lin make a believable couple. Other than that, this movie is AWFUL. I lay all the blame on one Stanley Tong, who proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jackie Chan was responsible for all those good Jackie Chan movies that Tong directed. I used to lament that Jackie Chan and John Woo should go back to HK where they could once again make really fantastic cinema. Well, the reverse is true for Stanley Tong. (Kozo 2001)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Deltamac Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen