Banana Cop (1984)
Reviewed by: cpardo on 2006-05-07
Summary: Entertaining and metaphorical comedy/mystery thriller
In Chinatown London, a murder of a businessman occurs in a gambling den. Inspector Edward Yip, a Chinese raised in England investigates when the name of "Ping Pong Ball" comes up in a conversation. He goes to HK to have the convict help in exchange for immediate release from prison, but not only does Ball give him the slip, Yip alienates the local cops with his lack of knowledge of Chinese customs. The two eventually return to London to solve the case, and end up getting an innocent blind Chinese girl (whom Ball likes) involved in the chaos, which includes the killer and a case of money...

On the surface this is a basic murder mystery with touches of humor, romance and a little action, with three great leads providing good chemistry. But there's another layer to the film, and that stems from George Lam's character, who was raised in London and so isn't familiar with the elements when he goes to Hong Kong (eats the fruit from the God Kwan shrine in the precinct), nor can he read Chinese as well. He's an anglicized Chinese, hence the nickname Ball gives him: "Banana" cop (yellow on the outside, white inside--hence the film's title). It's sort of a message the film gives: identities. But at the same time Ball has a similar experience when he goes to England (doesn't like the food, can't understand why the cops don't have guns)--it's pretty interesting. Aside from that though it's a solid film with a lot of twists and turns, good development of the relationship with the two male leads. And as a bonus, there's the side story of the blind girl (played by the lovely Cherie Chung) who teaches Ball beauty is only skin deep. I like the locales used in the film along with the cinematography--the climax is photographed rivetingly.

Because of the extra substance (especially from a Cinema City film), I give this HK movie extra points of enjoyment.

Reviewer Score: 8