Reviewed by: mrblue
There's one thing that nobody can deny about cinematographer-turned-director Jingle Ma's films, such as Hot War, Tokyo Raiders and Silver Hawk: they all look and sound great. Unfortunately, most of them fall into the "jade vase" category; pretty to look at, but hollow inside. While no one's going to mistake Playboy Cops for a Wong Kar-Wai movie, Ma shows a bit of maturity in his film-making that raises this release above a lot of Hong Kong's recent pop cinema releases.
Reviewer Score: 7
At first glance, however, this would not seem to be the case. The first scene has Michael (Shawn Yu), a rich heir who became a cop against his father's (Danny Lee) wishes solving a hostage situation by literally throwing money at the crook. It's done with Ma's trademark slickness, and leaves the viewer wondering if Playboy Cops is just another Hong Kong production that is an extended music video trying to disguise itself as an actual movie.
Things aren't helped by the introduction of the other main character, Lincoln (Chan Kwan), himself a heir who has become an officer. Lincoln's been brought to HK from the Mainland in order to assist in the investigation of his brother's murder. Even though Michael has been suspended for his tactics, he offers to help Lincoln, on the condition that Lincoln leaves HK afterwards, so Michael can get back together with his ex, Lisa (Linda Chung), who Lincoln is now dating.
For the first hour, Playboy Cops plays out like a lot of newer HK productions. The ridiculous nature of the plot (which was probably not helped by the fact that six people worked on the screenplay) threatens to take the movie off of the rails at times. But things are brought back via the performances of the lead actors that lend creednece to even the more ludicrous plot twists (think terminal illness) and some solid fight sequences helmed by veteran action director Stephen Tung.
Where Playboy Cops really gels together is during the final act. In an unexpected turn, Playboy Cops becomes not the promo material for its' young stars most HK productions seem to be nowadays, but a throwback to the "golden days" of 1980's HK film-making, with a violent confrontation between Michael, Lincoln, and the movie's "real" villain, culminating in a dark ending that has been sorely missed over the past few years.
It's a shame the rest of Playboy Cops couldn't match the passion and intensity of the finale, but as such, it still remains one of the better action/drama pictures to come out of HK in a while.
[review from www.hkfilm.net]
Reviewed by: j.crawford
Summary: Not what you think.
Cinematographer extraordinaire-turned-director Jingle Ma makes a film that is wildly complex on several levels. Playboy Cops  features a Hong Kong movie genre buffet that draws from a myriad of popular films, some recent and some not so recent. Unfortunately, up to a half dozen writers contributed to the ambitious screenplay that is, at times, as heart wrenching as it is outright confounding.
Reviewer Score: 7
A quick look at the promotional material for the film seduces the viewer into thinking of Benny Chan Muk-Sing's Gen-X Cops  or Wilson Yip Wai-Shun's Skyline Cruisers . I can't think of another city in the world that could foster the basic premise of this film. Only in Hong Kong would the police force allow an officer to use his personal wealth to carry out his sworn duties. Where else would a Mainlander who is an ex-cop, as well as extremely wealthy, be brought in to help with a murder investigation? "Okay, so after the first ten minutes, where do we go?" I can hear one writer say to the other.
Director Ma is smart to cast Shawn Yu in his movie. He uses a couple of newcomers, Aloys Chen and Linda Chung Ka-Yan, to good effect. Even the usually sleepy Wong You-Nam looks like he was excited to work on this movie. Cinematographer Ma is off-the-chain. Some of his images in this movie are as good as anything he's ever done. Playboy Cops has a very claustrophobic feel to it. Even Hong Kong's skyscrapers seem to be leaning over trying to get into the shot.
Action director Stephen Tung Wai, who worked with Ma on his very first directorial effort Hot War , puts the actors through their paces using some techniques that have been popularized by Jack Wong Wai-Leung and Donnie Yen Ji-Dan.
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