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If you enjoyed the wild antics in Kung Fu Hustle, then you'll likely have a good time with Badges of Fury. Over the top and ridiculous, Badges of Fury pushes extreme to its limits and takes the utmost pride in doing just that.
There's not much of Jet Li in Jet Li's latest action/comedy, Badges of Fury, a silly, slapstick farce overloaded with wirework stunts and achingly bad acting.
This isn't The Raid 2. End of review. No really, that's it. Actually it's really not. You know it's a sad day in the martial arts world when Jet Li can't even do most of his own stunts/fighting anymore. I'm not as familiar with Jet Li's past work as I am with Jackie Chan's, but I'm imagining that Jet must be pretty broken down from putting his body through punishment. Maybe that's not it and maybe he genuinely didn't want to do much of it, but I sincerely doubt that. But I digress, this film isn't particularly good, not to mention the fact that Jet Li is mostly a supporting character and the young cop and his superior are the real focus of the film. Didn't really have a problem with this because Zhang Wen is appropriately goofy enough to make Li's absence not as much of a disappointment. With that said, this film isn't exactly great. It doesn't take itself seriously and it has some ridiculously absurd action sequences, but it just doesn't really come together. The plot is a little preposterous and, quite frankly, and I realize it isn't fair to this movie, I've just been spoiled by the fighting in The Raid 2, so this doesn't even come close to that. It's about as close to it as the earth is to the sun. And if it got close to the sun, it simply would disintegrate since it doesn't have the necessary equipment to compete with such a powerful force, and will likely never even come close to developing the equipment that is essential. That's how far low down the line it actually is. Personally, I don't mind the wirework because Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon used this technique perfectly, but in here it just didn't really do it for me. The action scenes are poorly edited on top of all that, so it's really hard to come up with one of the fight scenes that actually stands out. It's just a mess. The scripting is a little terrible, but the leads' chemistry sort of alleviates that for a bit. Not that they're great, because they're slightly below average at best, but they did a good job at slightly elevating the material. Some ridiculously stupid plot holes are also in there. Basically the person who killed Liu's boyfriends was her uncle. If Liu didn't get married before 30, her uncle would inherit a fortune that her father left her. Here's the thing, the uncle has pretended to be paralyzed for three years, giving him the perfect alibi as nobody would suspect of him. The young cop finds this out, through some convoluted bullshit, and goes to the hospital and actually, get this, tickles the uncle's foot, trying to get him to show that he's not actually paralyzed. Think about that, THREE years and this cop is the first person to try this? Doing something physical to see if the person has any sensation in their lower body. THREE GODDAMN YEARS. Nobody bothered to push a needle into the skin, which is what doctors do, in order to see if he reacted. NOBODY?!!?!?!?! Seriously...and the movie does it so sneakily too, hoping that you wouldn't noticed the absolute ridiculousness of it all. It didn't work assholes! And the reveal of how he killed all of the boyfriends leads to an unintentionally funny moment. So one of the boyfriends was an actor, and he was shooting a scene where he had to jump out of an actual airplane. So, once you see the reveal, you see the uncle is calmly standing behind the cast and crew where he then does his thing. It was absolutely ridiculous. Why would they even allow someone who wasn't part of the crew ON to the plane as part of the shoot. WHY?!?!?!??!? This movie has some really stupid shit going on. Ridiculous and preposterous. I dislike this movie more now than I did when I watched it. I had thought about all these things I just mentioned, but going over it has added some some vitriol to my words. Just terrible stuff, some decent moments, but overall this is a really bad movie.
I chose to see Badges of Fury simply because it starred Jet Li who I like alot and been months since I've last seen anything from him. Sadly despite being featured on the poster as the star he takes a backseat to his co-star in this poorly written and confused film.
Badges of Fury is about young maverick Wang and grizzled vet Huang being assigned an "eerie" case reaching a dead end after discovering all the victims were former boyfriends of aspiring starlet Liu making the detectives play a deadly game. The plot is clearly aimed to be a comedy, but is usually interrupted by long "dramatic" scenes dealing with the excitement of stocks, life insurance, needles, and couples bickering. The comedy on the other hand is not any better. Referencing Jet Li other movies we would likely rather watch and even referencing the much superior Police Story films. The comedy is believe it or not a major problem for the film. At times it attempts to be gritty only for the tension to be gone when seeing a cop jump over three cars on a bike with no ramp or the fact a man having sandals is an actual clue to finding out who the killer is. Most insulting of all the film has the nerve to make the villain a character who hardly ever appears on screen. Character development is virtually non existent. Even the mystery itself takes a backseat to a poorly written love story. Making one wonder if three incomplete scripts were just jumble to together considering the incoherence of the material it wouldn't be shocking.
Director Wong Tsz-ming is doing his best imitation of Stephen Chow without any success. Including in the goofy opening credits where Jet Li literally shoots a bullet made up of the cast of actors. Wong Tsz relies too much on over the top comedic slapstick and heavy CG physical humor to get a laugh. Creating a problem that effect his fight scenes as well. The fight scenes are given a serious tone going against the comedic tone. It's difficult to take a fight scene seriously when we suddenly see an old man summoning a dragon and Jet Li cloning himself eight times. As for the choreography of these fights scene they feel force to shoehorned in some kind of humor into them. Making them feel disjointed and clunky. Jet Li is entirely wasted here. He never gets a chance to showcase his acting chops and sadly is only here for some poor fight scenes. Zheng Wen attempt to do his best with the poor material, but only gets a couple of meagle chuckles. As for the ladies they're simply here to be eye candy which fails. There only so many times one can tolerate hearing a good looking woman talk about her fail relationships within an hour and a half.
Badges of Fury is like a Stephen Chow's film minus the finer production values and the core essentials that make his films fun. Badges of Fury doesn't know what it wants to be nor how to do it creating a mess of a film that leaves it audiences unsatisfied with the results.
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