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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

HK Neo Reviews: Playboy Cops

Author: ( from Australia
23 June 2008

Tagline: A silly, but fun film… Review by Neo: Jingle Ma is a commercial director and there is no question about his ability to capture style. Before launching his directing career with one of Neo's favourite emotional cinema in Fly Me to Polaris and filming the coolest HK film ever in Tokyo Raiders, Ma was a cinematographer. In fact his eyes were behind the lens of acclaimed flicks like Drunken Master 2, Comrades, Almost a Love Story and Fong Sai Yuk to name a few. Ma is a specialist in terms of commercial cinema and definitely knows the meaning of being cool. However, in recent years, Ma's film have lacked a box office appeal churning out routine cinema like Silver Hawk, the atrocious sequel – Seoul Raiders, before a slight return to form in last year's Happy Birthday. While his latest, Playboy Cops bombed out at the box office making a meager $145,000. It is a shame as while this flick is silly by all means, the film ends better than it starts and is ultimately a meaningless fun commercial ride.

Shawn Yue is an actor that Neo praised back in 2004's Jiang Hu. Yue was amazingly intense in the scene where Edison restrains him from helping his brother as his eyes grow through the motions. From there Yue have yet to improve upon that performance as his one intense expression becomes overused in flicks like Dragon Squad, Wo Hu, Dragon Tiger Gate. While Neo have yet to see Dog Bite Dog's director latest attempt in Shamo, Yue does better in this flick and carries the film in an adequate fun manner. Sure, the final sequence is manufactured in typical Jingle Ma's style, but Yue handles it well and allows the film to ends better than it starts.

Mainlander Alloy Chen is most likely the weakest link, as his performance requires nothing more than smile and grin. On one hand, the buddy partnership may be fun, but it is hardly believable in terms of chemistry. As for TVB starlet's Linda Chung continues to improve on her acclaimed crying face. Neo have mentioned it in other reviews already and despite liking her secretly, there is no question that Chung has been playing this very same role since Love is Not All Around. Luckily, Chung recently portrayed a very different character in the recent TVB series as a bad-ass girl and all Neo can say is that this chick definitely got something about her.

In a surprising and hilariously cameo comes in the form of Xiong Xin-Xin (from the Wong Fei Hung's fame) as the kung fu master and Lee Sir is on the mark (Danny Lee, not playing a cop for once) as Shawn Yue's dad. Adding to the mix is Shaun Tam, the son of A Better Tomorrow's favourite – Ti Lung. It is unfortunate that Tam could not make the most of his juicy role and at times his poor and obvious overacting is more laughable that anything. Let's hope he can recapture some of his predecessor style and flair in the near future.

All in all, Playboy Cops is by no means an accomplish flick, but at the very least it works. It works on the basis that the audience isn't exactly demanding and just looking for some fun to be had. With HK movies being famous for starting better than it ends, Jingle Ma have created an exception and the good news is that it isn't necessary a bad thing. While Ma is still a far-cry from his Polaris days or even the ultra-coolness of Toyko Raiders, for the current reviewer, this flick exceeded the expectations of what he initially expected. Sure, it isn't a big accomplish or hard to achieve at all, but after a long 50km drive from work, putting two feet up, drinking green bean desert soup and watching a fun flick, it really can't be too bad… (Neo 2008)

I rate it 7/10


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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Weak Start Strong Finish

Author: JonJonPoPong from Canada
20 June 2008

I have not watched HK movies for a few years but I thought I would check this one out and even though it has a very weak start which goes no where fast, it build near the middle and the ending is great. This movie goes from a pop corn movie to a very dramatic film at the end which is saying a lot considering that it is a movie about two rich guys who are cops. The first who solves all his cases by throwing money at them and the second who has retired from being a cop but has returned to the city due to his brother being murdered. The actors are good though the female lead is quite plain looking for a woman in a pop corn film. The main villain is exceptional at his role even though he doesn't come into play until the very end. Watch this movie, even if you don't do it all in one sitting. The ending is great, if only the entire movie had been given the same tone as the last 1/3 of the movie it would of been something special.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Decent Cop/Buddy Film

Author: crossbow0106 from United States
23 November 2008

This is the story of Michael and Lincoln (okay, who stole the title characters names, the writer of this film or the creator of "Prison Break?), who are both cops. Lincoln's brother was killed in what seemed like a simple robbery gone bad and Michael, though he can't stand Lincoln since he is from mainland China and more so because he stole his girlfriend Lisa, vows to find the killer in three weeks, so they join forces. The film has enough action, a lot of fighting especially, to sustain a decent review, but it is really run of the mill. I think it is mostly for fans of Shawn Yue and Aloys Chen, the two cops who are extremely wealthy, Michael from a rich father. I find the part of the film concerning Lisa kind of tiresome, and her indecisiveness about these two guys a little annoying. Otherwise, the film has some good action sequences, it is filmed very well (it is a very vivid film) and the locations are all Hong Kong. So, I do recommend but don't expect to love it at the end.

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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Yet Another Unexpected Example of Why Hong Kong Cinema Is Very Much Alive and Kicking

Author: ebossert from United States
20 June 2008

While scouring my Asian movie rental queue, I noticed a new Hong Kong action flick with Shawn Yue, who I think is a moderately talented actor who appears in very entertaining films ("Diary", "Infernal Affairs 2", "Dragon Tiger Gate", etc.). However, after noticing that the title was "Playboy Cops", I immediately expected a no-brain commercial fluff piece with lame humor and dopey characters. Needless to say, I was apprehensive when I noticed that it snuck to the top of my queue and was mailed to my home. After watching the film I can honestly say that it proved to be a nice surprise.

Review In One Breath: Shawn Yue is a rich police officer who helps his new acquaintance find a murderer. The whole set-up is very familiar, but the use of money is a bit unexpected and actually helps to build character. The fights are grounded and scrappy (focusing on realism over all else), the infrequent doses of humor are effective, and the conclusion is gripping. The acting is also surprisingly excellent, even by the token love interest, and Yue gives the most impressive performance of his career. A very good, serious movie that's much better than one might initially expect.

It seems that many review sites dedicated to Hong Kong movies keep complaining about the "death of Hong Kong cinema" for some unknown reason. (I know it sucks that production has dropped, but we're talking quality here, not quantity). I've had a healthy dose of such films from the apparent "Golden Age" to present day, but it always seems like the older movies almost always get lots of slack from the mainstream press (who like to ignore the most glaring flaws), even if the movie itself is awful. On the other hand, every Hong Kong film made during the 21st Century seems to get trashed immediately out of the gate, with every little flaw magnified as to convey in every possible way that the film sucks. I tell ya, these people (especially that Kozo guy from LoveHKFilm, who "Highly Recommends" some of the worst movies released during the "Golden Age") are very selective in wearing their rose-colored glasses. And it's not a random process, if you know what I mean.

Take "Playboy Cops" as an example. This movie is on the same level as many of the better flicks released during the 1980s and 1990s in terms of overall quality and entertainment value (and actually exceeds a good chunk of those films too). Acting, directing, and even scriptwriting are all fine and dandy here. Yet somehow it gets demeaned as being "just okay, considering what we get from Hong Kong lately." Nonsense. This is a solid flick – period! Where are those rose-colored glasses? Or do you guys only break them out when watching something released before 1995?

I would strongly recommend "Playboy Cops" to anyone who likes quality Hong Kong film-making. Sure, it's no "Hard Boiled" or "Infernal Affairs", but it's well worth watching – and infinitely more entertaining and well-made than "Golden Age" trash like "Ashes of Time." The current rating of 4.4 on IMDb is a travesty.

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