Running Time: 113 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Format: Widescreen 2.35:1, enhanced for 16x9 Tvs
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital Stereo
Languages: English, Cantonese
Subtitles: English, French
Region: 1
MSRP: $14.95

Own It!
Gen-X Cops (1999)

They're not just cops -- they're COPS TO THE EXTREME! That's probably the line that was used to pitch this Hong Kong thriller to whichever studio made it.

Elvis Tsang plays a former mental patient (!) who now works as an inspector for the Hong Kong police force. For a particularly tough undercover assignment he recruits three cadets thrown our of the police academy. The three are Jack (Nicholas Tse), Match (Stephen Fung), and Alien (Sam Lee), and they're so generation X that Tsang catches up with them on the way to do some parachuting! Once recruited, the three use their generation X-ness to infiltrate a drug dealer's gang, and this somehow leads to a terrorist plot to blow-up a Hong Kong landmark.

This film was some sort of attempt by the HK film industry to make an action film slick enough to compete with Hollywood product. This may be the first time in Hong Kong cinema that an actual (model) building has been destroyed in any realistic fashion. Still, there are some tell-tale signs that the production was still shooting guerilla style. When our heroes sneak into a nightclub office, we couldn't help but notice that it looked like Jackie Chan's business office!

The three main actors are allegedly supposed to represent the future of HK action film stars, which is a bit scary. Nicholas Tse may do his own stunts, but he doesn't have a fraction of the charisma of Jackie Chan or Jet Li, a fact that is amply demonstrated by Jackie's small, enjoyable cameo at the end of the film. The other two never engaged me.

This movie has a certain similarity to a Lethal Weapon film crossed with the Mod Squad remake, only the HK idea of what cutting edge youth looks like and acts like seems about five years out-of-date. As a somewhat diverting action film it works fine, but it isn't going to make anybody forget Die-Hard or Hard Boiled.

The visual quality of this disc is terrific, considering it's a Hong Kong film. The colors sometimes look a little dull when shooting exteriors, but this is probably a flaw of the original materials.

The sound is fine no matter what track you decide to listen to. The English dubbed tracks tend to have the dialogue pumped up further than in the Cantonese tracks. The English subtitles are true to the Cantonese dialogue, not the English dialogue (as was the case with Gorgeous).

Extras include trailers to this movie and Jackie Chan's Who Am I?, a talent file for Jackie Chan (whose involvement in Gen-X Cops is pretty minimal, but none of the other actors have had very much in the way of careers), a making of documentary, and a whole bunch of deleted scenes.

The 32-minute making of documentary (Gen-X Cops: No Pain, No Gain) is very interesting, with lots of behind the scenes footage of the stunts, and interviews with most of the actors and crew. People speaking Cantonese are subtitled in English. Rather amusingly, a number of the people interviewed talk about this film as if Gen-X Cops is a major statement on the twenty-something generation. There is also much patting themselves on the back regarding the epic nature and originality of the film. "It's trying to do something nobody has ever done before," observes Daniel Wu, as if ripping-off the Lethal Weapon films is a novel idea. The documentary also includes the music video to the end credits song "You Can't Stop Me," which was sung grunge style by the three principal actors! After the documentary, we are treated to a 6-minute Hong Kong promo for the film. This promo features a bunch of Ferraris, which may explain all those people from the Ferrari Club who are thanked so prominently in the main feature's credits.

The deleted footage falls into two categories. The first thirty minutes or so are deleted bits of character development, almost exclusively from the film's first hour. The second twenty minutes is rough cut assemblage of the marina standoff/shootout.

Scott Hamilton, 11/6/00