Project S (1993)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2009-05-16
“How did we miss this?” I wondered as the no nonsense Colonel Yang with her peaked cap, epaulets and horribly tailored uniform coat was drafted to free a hostage held by a group of heavily armed and fanatical terrorists. How indeed? We were watching “Supercop 2” simply to see Michele Yeoh in action again and I thought we had seen most of her films and all of her action roles. So this was a nice surprise.

Yeoh was in her glory. She was committed to her role, fit and athletic and clearly ready to resume her career. While her shift from tough cop to besotted young woman in love took place with an almost audible grinding of histrionic gears she did both aspect of the role well. That bifurcated characterization was one of several dualities that were present in “Supercop 2” and which define its structure and are integral to both its plot and character development.

The first of conceptual twinned pairs is within Officer Jessica Yang herself. We first see her as a relentless and courageous cop, inventing new forms of creative violence on the fly while she fights her way out of the hostage situation, freeing the finance minister and smashing a number of terrorists while doing so. That the terrorists were tough guys and gals was shown by who played them, including Oshima Yukari, who sets the tone with her signature flashy kicks. Among those held hostage is David Chang, Jessica’s true love, who seems to have screwed things up, being held captive by the people he was charged with defending the finance minister against, which leads to the next scene and the sudden shift in our heroine’s character. She goes from tough cop to simpering, besotted young woman in the less time than it takes to tell. Riding her olive drab, PRC issued motorcycle with sidecar to Chang’s home, Jessica all but melts when he hands her a wrapped gift, going from the Terminatrix to Sandra Dee in “Tammy and the Doctor” in the blink of an eye. We know that the course of true love never runs smooth but there won’t be a bridge over these troubled waters when the final credits roll. Officer Yang has to make a choice between being an armed servant of the people or a girl with a crush on the cutest boy in town (her opening scenes with Chang really laid on that thickly).

Another contrasting pair is between the two sets of criminals who we follow as they plan a huge bank robbery. The PRC gangsters are disciplined former army Special Forces personnel, fanatically loyal to their officers and to their unit, ready to carry out any orders at any time even while being attacked by the police. The Hong Kong hoodlums, on the other hand, are more typical crooks. Led by a gold chain wearing hipster, they are in it for the money, willing to hold together if it is their individual interests. Yet another involves the disparity in competence between Officer Yang and the two Hong Kong cops she is sent to advise. Inspector Lee Ming and Officer Kuo Shao Long are hesitant, unsure of themselves and their mission and easily fooled while Jessica Yang is—well she is Jessica Yang, scourge of enemies of the People. While they dither, she kicks in doors.

One reason the Hong Kong officers might hang back, and another set of paired differences is the inequality of firepower between them and the robbers, although they don’t help matters much by their incompetence with firearms. The police have short barreled pistols while the bad guys have automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades and radio-detonated explosives. As befits their status as former soldiers, the men of the PRC gang are very skillful with their weaponry while their adversaries, the Hong Kong forces of law and order, are barely competent. One example occurred when Inspector Ming’s revolver lost its cylinder while he was trying to reload—it rolled away so he and Jessica had to search for it while under fire. A bit later during the same gunfight Officer Long managed to drop a clip while trying to reload his semi-automatic pistol. It seemed to be the only spare. They clearly need some lessons on weapon care and maintenance while it is second nature to the guys shooting at them.

There is some unintentional (I think) comedy whenever the Hong Kong cops, particularly Officer Long, try to shadow or stake out the robbers. They always get noticed by their quarry. When Officer Long tries to keep an eye on one of the gang leaders who is meeting with the man ultimately behind the scheme he looks as guilty as a kid with his hand in the cookie jar and stands out as the only person dressed like a slob in a hotel lobby full of gray suited businessmen. They can’t shoot straight and they can’t even keep an eye on a gang of bad guys operating in their area.

The scene with Jackie Chan in drag foiling a jewel robbery attempt by Eric Tsang in matching drag might have been funnier when “Supercop 2” was made. It also could have been dropped into any police movie not starring Jackie Chan and added nothing to our enjoyment of this one.

The action was exemplary, from the first brutal set of battles while freeing the hostage to the very end. Jessica Yang is tough and smart and generally seems like the most competent person in the world. She is surrounded by idiots, has an almost fatal flaw and battles a worthy adversary. An excellent vehicle for Michele Yeoh and highly recommended
Reviewer Score: 7