A disappointing vehicle for the former box office queen…
Review by Neo: Sammi Cheng is an important part of HK Cinema. For almost half a decade, she was clearly the box office queen with her films constantly edging over the $20 million mark. She was funny, classy, relaxing, stressful and at the essence of all that, the people of Hong Kong loves her. Not with standing, her chemistry with arguably Hong Kong most important guy in Andy Lau is as smooth as spreading butter on a piece of white bread. Adding to the mix is that Sammi have fallen, and smashed to the ground to the point of depression, ever since embarking on the pessimistic journey in Everlasting Regret. Little do you know it that was almost 4 years ago, and don’t all cinema lovers, just enjoy seeing someone fighting back and living life again in happiness? That’s all I felt when Sammi came over to Sydney and my god she was entertaining, it’s always good to see someone standing up again, after falling on the ground repeatedly. Although it was just a concert, I could feel the vibe that Sammi is back. That is why it is all the more disappointing for her to star in such a mistimed vehicle. Director Alan Mak, does not know what he wants to be achieve, one moment, he seems to be trying to create some comic, another more a tint of seriousness, then visa versa. The film, whether cut or not be Mainland censors is ultimately far too uneven and interesting regardless of an alternative ending.
The movie goes like this, Eason is a triad leader whose son is kidnapped by someone and so after a series of event, Sammi becomes in charge on the case. As cliché goes, the two will not get along, but then the connect ends that as other minor and insignificant characters takes centre stage. Basically a film about cops trying to chase the kidnapper and in the process, there is an internal war going on between the gangs. Somehow at the heart of the story, it is about trying to find Eason’s son and perhaps changing him in the process, or is it actually not the case.
It seems to me that Sammi seems to be playing her normal early 2000s box office hits character with some degree of comic timing, while Eason seems to be in another movie or perhaps still indulged in his last movie, Lost Indulgence. Why do you want two star performer together, when the only linkage between them are at the very most, minimal. Disappointing is probably an understatement, when considering that Alan Mak is somewhat involved in the success of Infernal Affairs and the fact that his co-director Andrew Lau actually manages to entertain in a direct competition flick in Look for a Star. Alan Mak has fallen and in the process, he has taken the unfortunate Sammi with him and to a lesser extent, Eason as well. Basically, the movie is uninteresting, the plot is boring, and the situations make next to no sense. When there is a film that I do not know make it any better, as the material is so bad that all you can do is start to feel sorry for the aforementioned actors.
Sammi Cheng is easily likable, as she is simply a character that HK cinema audience have all grown to love and enjoy. She is cool, funny, pretty and to say the least, an actress with a personality. Basically, Cheng is wasted, and when you start getting the feeling that the main star attraction seems to be acting in a totally different type of movie, all you can realise is that there is seriously something wrong with the movie. Still, it is a much welcome returns for the former screen goddess, but really if only she is given a better vehicle to shine again. Likewise, Eason Chan is the total opposite to Sammi, who in turn hardly putted a smile, cracked a laugh or even anything near that. In the most honest opinion, Eason is basically lost, in a script that allows him little to work with and adding to that an ultimately uninteresting character. Chapman To also come back and stole some of the spot light in some much needed comedy routine. Kate Tsui continues her golden run on the silver screen with a small role, but fails miserably in recapturing the form or potential last seen in Eye in the Sky. As for Michelle Yip who plays Eason’s wife, is better at screaming than actual acting.
All in all, Lady Cop and Papa Crook are boring, uneven, uninteresting and essentially a complete waste of time. It is rare that I can so easily pan a film that stars Sammi Cheng, but this is not a cheap budget movie and it also carries the weight of expectations of seeing the film through the eyes of Infernal Affairs director, Alan Mak. So what can I say about this flick, basically, despite the much welcome back of Sammi Cheng, the film fails because it does not know what genre it belongs and along with the excessive cutting of the film by Mainland Censors, the film is ultimately more uneven than imagined. Still, there some funny moments, the Richie Ren cameo, a likable Sammi Cheng and a somewhat underrated comic display from the much missed Chapman To. In essence and all truthfulness, the film amounts to no better than a high school English essay which wants to cover too much and ends up getting lost at the whole point/purpose of the work. So do I recommend the flick and it is not that hard to say, I don’t think so … (Neo 2009)
I rate it 3.5/10