Routine Hong Kong Police comedy, with early roles for future Hong Kong Stars Leung and Chien-Lien.
Fans of director Johnnie To will be disappointed by this early effort, a let down after his direction of "The Big Heat" (and the Johnnie To produced "A Moment Of Romance"). The film starts as a typical Buddy Cop comedy. The plot does not make a lot of sense, but then audiences may not have been expecting much. Most Hong Kong movies from that period play on many registers at once, comedy, romance and action. That's what made some of these films so original and exciting. Unfortunately Royal Scoundrel is not necessarily strong in any of the areas. The comedy is silly and insipid , the romance is cheesy and under-developed, and the action scenes are mostly disappointing, in particular the finale. Still the general production and direction are of good quality, and the movie passes pleasantly. A little fun, if ultimately forgettable.
NG Man-Tat has played the role of the kind-hearted but ineffective flunky cop many times before and after this movie. Here, he just goes through the motions. Tony Leung overacts and is often obnoxious, never funny. The role definitely does not suit him well. He seems to be still learning his craft in his early films- see how badly he handles his role here and in many of his early films (eg the very weak Fantasy Romance). Waise Lee is professional as usual, cast as the corrupt cop. Wu Chien-Lien is very cute in one of her earliest movies. She is so lovely at that young age, the camera loves her despite the funny glasses and hairstyles the filmmakers try on her. She saved the movie for me.
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