A silly, but fun film…
Review by Neo: Jingle Ma is a commercial director and there is no question about his ability to capture style. Before launching his directing career with one of Neo’s favourite emotional cinema in Fly Me to Polaris and filming the coolest HK film ever in Tokyo Raiders, Ma was a cinematographer. In fact his eyes were behind the lens of acclaimed flicks like Drunken Master 2, Comrades, Almost a Love Story and Fong Sai Yuk to name a few. Ma is a specialist in terms of commercial cinema and definitely knows the meaning of being cool. However, in recent years, Ma’s film have lacked a box office appeal churning out routine cinema like Silver Hawk, the atrocious sequel – Seoul Raiders, before a slight return to form in last year’s Happy Birthday. While his latest, Playboy Cops bombed out at the box office making a meager $145,000. It is a shame as while this flick is silly by all means, the film ends better than it starts and is ultimately a meaningless fun commercial ride.
Shawn Yue is an actor that Neo praised back in 2004’s Jiang Hu. Yue was amazingly intense in the scene where Edison restrains him from helping his brother as his eyes grow through the motions. From there Yue have yet to improve upon that performance as his one intense expression becomes overused in flicks like Dragon Squad, Wo Hu, Dragon Tiger Gate. While Neo have yet to see Dog Bite Dog’s director latest attempt in Shamo, Yue does better in this flick and carries the film in an adequate fun manner. Sure, the final sequence is manufactured in typical Jingle Ma’s style, but Yue handles it well and allows the film to ends better than it starts.
Mainlander Alloy Chen is most likely the weakest link, as his performance requires nothing more than smile and grin. On one hand, the buddy partnership may be fun, but it is hardly believable in terms of chemistry. As for TVB starlet’s Linda Chung continues to improve on her acclaimed crying face. Neo have mentioned it in other reviews already and despite liking her secretly, there is no question that Chung has been playing this very same role since Love is Not All Around. Luckily, Chung recently portrayed a very different character in the recent TVB series as a badass girl and all Neo can say is that this chick definitely got something about her.
In a surprising and hilariously cameo comes in the form of Xiong Xin-Xin (from the Wong Fei Hung’s fame) as the kung fu master and Lee Sir is on the mark (Danny Lee, not playing a cop for once) as Shawn Yue’s dad. Adding to the mix is Shaun Tam, the son of A Better Tomorrow’s favourite – Ti Lung. It is unfortunate that Tam could not make the most of his juicy role and at times his poor and obvious overacting is more laughable that anything. Let’s hope he can recapture some of his predecessor style and flair in the near future.
All in all, Playboy Cops is by no means an accomplish flick, but at the very least it works. It works on the basis that the audience isn’t exactly demanding and just looking for some fun to be had. With HK movies being famous for starting better than it ends, Jingle Ma have created an exception and the good news is that it isn’t necessary a bad thing. While Ma is still a far-cry from his Polaris days or even the ultra-coolness of Toyko Raiders, for the current reviewer, this flick exceeded the expectations of what he initially expected. Sure, it isn’t a big accomplish or hard to achieve at all, but after a long 50km drive from work, putting two feet up, drinking green bean desert soup and watching a fun flick, it really can’t be too bad… (Neo 2008)
I rate it 7/10