• Bu Er Shen Tan / Badges Of Fury (2013) - Rabbits don't come easy - 6/10 (14/12/14)

    Bu Er Shen Tan / Badges Of Fury (2013)

     

    "Badges of Fury" is a short and fast paced action comedy movie which is certainly entertaining but overall disappointingly superficial.

    The movie has a clever marketing strategy and includes many cameos by famous Chinese stars which include not only actors but also sportsmen for example. The longest cameo includes Jet Li who appears from time to time in this movie but doesn't really play an important role as the trailers might suggest. Even when he's there, his acting is wooden and lifeless and this could be considered his worst movie ever and I'm saying this as a big fan who has watched almost all of his movies. 

    The film is also a parody of several Hongkong blockbusters from the last thirty years. Some of the insinuations are funny, for example when the main characters coincidentally capture a fashion icon who is behind online piracy acts. Most jokes are though either silly in a very childish way when we get to hear weird cartoon noises during some action scenes and overacted reactions by some of the characters. These ridiculous noises that seem to be taken off some old Looney Tunes episodes are overused in the first half of the movie and get completely dropped in the second part. Other jokes are simply sexual innuendos as we get to see many close-ups of Liu Yan's big breasts which get a lot of attention from female and male characters throughout the entire film. In general, men are mostly portrayed as dumb and superficial machos while women are mostly portrayed as silly sexual objects. I'm someone who likes to laugh a lot and this includes dirty and slapstick humour but this kind of silly rehashed comedy is nothing but embarrassing.

    The action scenes are quite a mixed bag. Most of them are voluntarily exaggerated and feature massive CGI effects that kill any kind of charm that the parodied Hongkong classics have. Still, a few fighting scenes are well executed and filmed. They are filled with adrenaline and grace and use several interesting items as weapons. Even in his weakest movie, an elderly Jet Li can still show off his incredible talent and his acolyte Zhang Wen does a quite convincing job if one ignores the distracting slapstick moments during his fighting scenes. On the other side, the final fighting scene involving Jet Li is overlong and unspectacular.

    The plot of this movie is extremely odd. The film starts with three random slapstick murders where the victims all die with a strange smile on their faces. The main suspect of the movie is a shy actress with good manners in her late twenties who hasn't got her breakthrough yet and who was engaged to each victim over the past years. Her sister soon becomes another important suspect as the superficial beauty with bad manners stole each of her sister's fiancés and sold insurances to them that made her a wealthy woman when they died. The unpredictable final twist of the movie where a rabbit gets pulled out of a hat is though so absurd that it even feels misplaced in a slapstick comedy flick. In between the morbidly amusing opening and the forced twist followed by a stereotypical happy ending, a few more plot lines are introduced only to justify many pointless cameo appearances. None of the few potentially promising ideas such as the relationship between the two investigating officers or the meeting of the criminal gang at the beginning of the movie are pushed further. Any kind of character development is completely absent in this hollow movie.

     

    In the end, this movie is bearable because of a few gripping action scenes, a couple of acceptable jokes, a high number of cameos by famous actors and allusions to classics any Hongkong cinephile should know and the fact that one is impatiently waiting for the outcome of the story as the tension slightly increases even if the twist ends up being a huge letdown. Despite its obvious flaws, I was overall very well entertained by this dynamical movie for the reasons mentioned above. I would surely watch it again in a couple of years. Those who are mainly planning to watch this movie because they are expecting an explosive martial arts blockbuster with Jet Li should be careful though and rather rent the film for a reasonable price instead of buying it or going to the movies.

     

    « Servantes reviewsGeung Si / Rigor Mortis (2013) - Asian mythology meets stunning visual effects in an atmospheric, detailed and slow-paced horror movie - 9/10 (15/12/14) »
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