|Posted by Mr. Smooth on May 17, 2012 at 3:25 PM|
"His bosses, criminals and his colleagues may think he is an idiot, but little do they know that he is a...TIGER ON THE BEAT!"
Its back! That series I do that no one reads, welcome back to The Heroic Bloodshed Corner. Now, I know last time I said that I would do A Better Tomorrow this time, but I decided I would hold fire on that one for a little while until I do John Woo Month in the very near future. So instead I have decided to turn my attentions to Tiger On The Beat by Lau Kar-leung, a buddy cop comedy starring Sir Chow Yun Fat and Conan Lee! So, it may be a bit of a step down from the Heroic Bloodshed CLASSIC that is A Better Tomorrow, but this is still a great film. And yes, the box cover is correct, there is a chainsaw duel but I'll get to that later. And I'll also get to the shotgun attached to a bungee chord which is then used to fire around corners. This is a pretty weird movie now that I think about it. But that's not important, so let's have a look at Tiger On The Beat.
The plot of this film is very simplistic. Chow Yun Fat plays Francis Li, a police inspector who only really joined the police for the same reason everyone does; the bitches. Anyway, he's a pretty pathetic officer, who hasn't solved a case in a year or so and actually pisses his pants when a gun is held to his head. Somehow he still manages to get attractive married women into bed with him. So he's partnered with Michael Tso, an up and coming young police officer who he is introduced to when he holds a gun to the head of someone holding their gun to Francis' head. Basically, they don't get off to the best start and Francis hates him for it ever since. They're told to investigate the murderer of a heroin smuggler, well, Michael is told to solve it whilst the comissioner tells Francis that he should just let Michael do all the work and take all of the credit.
Anyway, the guy was murdered by Poison Snake Ping, the somewhat psychotic enforcer of the triad leater Johnny Law, because Law thought he was behind some of his heroin recently going missing. However, it turns out it was Ping who was stealing the drugs with the help of his sister Marydonna and selling it on for a large profit. Michael and Francis track Ping down but he manages to escape them after a chase scene in his underwear, before he holds up Michael and Francis for their trousers. Yes, it is as hilarious as it sounds. So they arrest his sister and try to get her to talk but as always she refuses. That is until Law tracks her down in a gym to try and torture her into revealing Ping's whereabouts (seeing as it is clearly obvious that he was behind the missing heroin). Francis and Michael save her and she gradually begins to warm to them. Especially when Ping gets horribly murdered by Law and his second-in-command Fai whilst he's on the phone to her.
So basically, Marydonna tells Francis and Michael where Law's big drug deal is going down and he gets arrested. Francis and Michael get promoted and they all live happily ever after...Oh wait, no they don't. Marydonna gets gunned down in the street by Fai, and Francis' sister gets kidnapped. Oh dear. Fai tells Francis and Michael that he'll give them back his sister in exchange for releasing Law from custody. They manage to break him out of where he is being held and they go for a final confrontation with Fai...
So yeah, the plot is, once again, as thin as a sheet of toilet paper, but who cares about the plot. THIS FILM HAS A FUCKING CHAINSAW DUEL!
Only joking of course, as I do think this film is pretty good. Sure, as a comedy, the humour sometimes misses the mark, but that might just be me because I don't really get foreign comedies (which is a serious drawback in John Woo's Once A Thief), but there were still some funny moments. The scene where they give their trousers to Ping is kind of hilarious and Francis's introduction is pretty funny (also known as the pissing himself scene), and altogether, Chow Yun Fat puts in a really good performance. He's actually quite good at comedy, even though he is mainly known as a serious actor, and I find his character quite endearing. He's an idiot and a slacker, but he's got a good nature. Although, like everything in the movie, he takes a darker turn when Marydonna gets quite senselessly murdered, and goes on one of Chow Yun-Fat's patented revenge rampages. But his rampage this time is a bit different, seeing as he uses a shotgun...attached to a bungee chord...which he uses to shoot around corners. Then he attaches a machete to the shotgun and uses it as a bayonet...Yeah, this is a weird movie, but I find it pretty funny.
The action scenes in this film are actually pretty awesome. Especially the motherfucking chainsaw fight. It helps that Conan Lee and Gordon Liu are impressive martial artists, as the whole scene is pretty great. In fact, Conan Lee's martial arts prowess is shown throughout and he really is great, even though I don't think his acting is up to scratch. The relationship between Francis and Marydonna is actually quite interesting. It's never really stated but it is very subtley hinted that there may be something between them. Of course, they hate each other at first but gradually they begin to like each other just a little bit, although sadly it can't be elaborated upon due to Marydonna's death (which I felt was only there for shock value in all honesty). The solemn way which Francis looks at her body is quite heart-wrenching, and another sign of what a good actor Chow Yun Fat is, given that he can get strong emotions across even with just a look.
Well, as always, there are low points to this film. As I say, the comedy isn't always great, and the film's dark turn comes quite suddenly and feels a tiny bit out of place but I still enjoyed the direction it took the film in to a point. Conan Lee isn't the greatest actor ever, and it shows, as his character is probably the most unconvincing of all of them. It would have been pretty cool to see Gordon Liu in that role instead of Conan Lee, as this guy is a great martial artist, and a pretty damn good actor, especially the way he plays the psychotic Fai. Its nice to see that he has had a bit of mainstream success in America due to his appearances in both of the Kill Bill films, more memorably as Pai Mai in the second one.
So on a whole, this is a pretty damn good film. Its certainly more of a comedy than any of the other films that I've reviewed so far, and that aspect is pretty enjoyable. It still has all of the aspects of a Heroic Bloodshed film, but with the more comedic slant it makes it one of the most memorable and different films of the genre. Great performances from Chow Yun Fat and Gordon Liu certainly raises it above an average film (like the sequel supposedly) and I strongely recommend it for anyone who likes a good buddy cop film, and is able to suspend their disbelief for long enough. So now we've seen Chow Yun Fat as a biker and an idiot cop, but how does it compare to when he becomes The God Of Gamblers? See you all next time, and as always, please comment.
Categories: Mr. Smooth's Smoothatorium