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Tom yum goong (2005)
A new tool in martial arts cinema
THE PROTECTOR (the heavily edited U.S. version of TOM YUM GOONG) is another Thai action flick that features the trademark collaboration of director Prachya Pinkaew, stunt/fight choreographer Panna Rittikrai and of course, Tony Jaa in cutting-edge action that took off in ONG-BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR. This time, you get to see more of Jaa's combat specialties that rely on Muay Thai kickboxing, acrobatics, grappling and other martial art forms.
Jaa plays Kham, a young Thailand native and caretaker of elephants who goes to Australia in search of his two elephants that were kidnapped by a crime organization led by an evil sinister named Madame (Xin Jing). He's forced to use his martial arts skills to take out thugs and corrupt cops with the help of Mark (Petchtai Wongkamlao- ONG-BAK), a righteous cop who happens to have more trouble in his hands when a corrupt Australian cop frames him for murder.
Upon Kham's (Jaa) arrival in Australia's Thai town, Sidney, his search leads him to the organization's headquarters where Madam has her operations in the 'Tom Yum Goong' Thai restaurant. He fights his way through a long line of thugs with close-range attacks and arm-bending takedowns while throwing them through balconys, tables, flower vases and other equipment before facing off against Johnny (played by stuntman and Wu Shu martial artist Johnny Tri Ngyuen) in a one-on-one martial arts brawl. Mark and Kham find themselves working together after a senior policeman, linked to the organization, frames him for the murder of another corrupt policeman and a business executive.
Like ONG-BAK, this movie has a simple plot which was made to allow room for non-stop fights. This time, instead of traveling to recover a stolen statue, Jaa sets out to recover his two pet elephants. As a result, director Panna Rittikrai and Jaa determined to overwork the action sequences to please their fans the way Jackie Chan puts his life on the line for his.
Speaking of Jackie Chan, there's one sequence, set in a wherehouse, that comes close to CITY HUNTER and RUMBLE IN THE BRONX where Jaa encounters a gang, equipped with BMX Bikes, Rollerblades, 4-wheelers and foes who wield florescent bulbs at him. This allows Jaa to showcase his stunts, martial arts and acrobatics on furnature, cars, fences and other equipment that will appeal to Chan movie lovers.
Pinkaew also salutes Jackie Chan in a scene where Jaa arrives at the airport and accidentally bumps into a man who turns out to be a direct look-a-like of Chan that will have you thinking twice.
The film is packed with loads of spectacular fights to check out. One fight concerns Jaa being challenged by three skilled fighters in a burning Buddhist temple, flooded with water. The first one is played by Zero Gravity Stunt Team Member and gymnast Lateef Crowder, who puts on an incredible display of Capoeiria. His second foe is played by Jackie Chan Stunt Team member Jonathan Foo, who engages in Wu Shu kung-fu and uses traditional swordsmanship. Jaa's third challenger is played by Australian wrestler Nathan Jones, who out matches Jaa by size, weight and strength. Jones is probably best remembered as the wrestler who fought Jet Li in FEARLESS, he battled Brad Pitt in TROY and even wrestled in the WWE years earlier for a short time. Jones delivers a variety of wrestling moves and leaves the battle unresolved, at least until the finale.
Some of the most notable fights take place in a five-story circular room where Jaa battles countless bad guys from the bottom floor to the top, and the finale where he uses freestyle martial arts against 50 henchmen with some bone-crushing grappling moves, close-range takedowns and a variety of combination attacks.
Some mixed events fall in place during the film as Mark and Kham hide out from the police while Kham continues his one-man martial arts attack on the operators of Tom Yum Goong. Madame takes over the family business by killing off the owners. Kham comfronts her and her army of henchmen as they go out to do battle while Mark goes out to rescue his kidnapped sister who's also a victim of Madam's evil doings.
The overall rating of THE PROTECTOR was a downfall because of the solid story but thankfully, it can be overlooked with the trademark tools of Jaa, fight choreographer Panna Rittikarai and director Prachya Pinkaew who help put the film in the shape of a cutting-edge martial arts piece that can be appreciated without being framed as a bad National Geographic nature program on elephants.
It was good to see ONG-BAK co-star Petchtai Wongkamlao, remembered as the humorous con artist, re-team with Jaa and make people laugh with his comedic humor and jokes. Johnny Tri Ngyuen delivered some of his martial arts skills against Jaa but it should have been a longer fight. He deserved more screen time and his supporting role revealed him as a talented actor that will hopefully give him bigger roles in future projects.
Hopefully, Jaa's next movie will improve on some of the flaws that THE PROTECTOR suffered from and his proteges will create better character development for his acting and a creative plot to go along with it so he won't be looked at as only a martial artist. The results of his screen fighting expertise can possibly put him in the category with his heroes Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li as America's next action star.
The good news about this film is that distributor 'Dragon Dynasty' gave it the ultimate treatment on DVD and included the original uncut TOM YUM GOONG version to unravel all the missing material not shown in the American version along with it's original dialogue that will definitely please the fans (familiar with the original).
Zhi fa xian feng (1986)
An underrated modern martial arts classic
Famed martial arts choreographer Cory Yuen (THE TRANSPORTER 1 & 2, X-MEN and ROMEO MUST DIE) directed a Hong Kong film, loaded with bone-crushing stunts and masterful fight scenes with an assembled cast of martial arts masters from the East and West to cross paths.
ABOVE THE LAW (aka RIGHTING WRONGS) obtained a vigilante story with dark toned aspects that relies on police corruption and the righteous bending the law to seek their own justice. The stunning martial arts choreography by Cory Yuen kicks into high gear to help make this underrated cop-fu classic a fan favorite.
Acrobatic kung-fu genius Yuen Biao (ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA, SHANGHAI EXPRESS (aka MILLIONAIRE'S EXPRESS), THE PRODIGAL SON) plays a court prosecutor whose relentless determination to do away with an untouchable gangster (James Tien- Bruce Lee's THE BIG BOSS, FIST OF FURY) has led him to employ a series of unethical tactics. His investigation becomes complicated by the arrival of a female inspector (played by 5-Time World Karate champion and weapons expert Cynthia Rothrock).
Out of all the '80s era fight flicks I have seen Yuen Biao perform in, ABOVE THE LAW was one of his better efforts as an actor and screen fight performer. He exchanges blows with undefeated kickboxing legend Peter "Sugarfoot" Cunningham in a (POLICE STORY-style) glass-shattering fight, he also battles Cynthia Rothrock in an engagement of traditional kung-fu, acrobatic fight moves and handcuffs. He has a Jackie Chan stunt moment where he uses his speed and flexibility to dodge speeding cars.
Cory Yuen staged these sequences wonderfully and the legendary fight between Cynthia and Biao shows their similarities in timing and skill, which makes their battle an all-time favorite. Karen Shepard, who is another skilled fighter from America and an expert in the mixed art form of Wun Hop Kuen Do kung fu, faces off against Cynthia with the lethal chain whip. Actor Melvin Wong (EASTERN CONDORS and DESCENDANT OF WING CHUN- the film referred in BULLETPROOF MONK-) also gets screen time to execute some martial arts against Yuen Biao. The results of the screen fights earned the film a nomination for Best Action Choreography at the 1987 Hong Kong Film Awards.
Of course, fans already know that Cynthia Rothrock is kung-fu's queen of action and a master in various forms of combat like Tae Kwon Do, Wushu, Northern Shaolin kung-fu and Tang Soo Do. Her skills made her a celebrated icon in the sport but unfortunately, she remains highly underrated and overshadowed by the mainstream success of Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Her roles in countless American movies suffer from bad plots and choreography but her presence in Hong Kong films shine like Jackie Chan, and Jet Li does internationally. Her capabilities give her the advantage over many of today's mainstream martial art stars and it is disappointing that her films in the East do not get the proper recognition.
For a film made in the '80s, ABOVE THE LAW was a great actioner in martial arts cinema, and all the skilled experts did a great job with their performance.
I hope the overshadowing of this classic in the West will end with the new Dragon Dynasty release and capture a wider audience to gain her the type of recognition she deserves as a star.
This film was also one of Cynthia and Biao's best performances in screen combat during that era but the praise goes to Cory Yuen because of his skillful direction and casting of martial arts action figures from both worlds to pull the strings. This film will remain a classic in the cinema of martial arts and an unforgettable clashing of two legends in martial arts that deserve the proper recognition.
A dark martial arts piece
French action filmmakers Louis Leterrier (TRANSPORTER 2) and Luc Besson (LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, THE FIFTH ELEMENT) re-teamed with their KISS OF THE DRAGON-hero Jet Li to create a dark crime drama that features lots of brutal violence mixed in with raw fight choreography.
This is an action movie that attempts to balance bone-crunching brutality with some heart and soul. This also marks Jet Li's second teaming with Luc Besson who blends some exciting fight scenes with a refreshing sincerity rarely seen in high-octane Hollywood blockbusters.
The film's theme also borrows from Besson's LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL with the characters being manipulated for evil means rather than an innocent soul corrupted by tragedy.
Jet Li and Morgan Freeman (BATMAN BEGINS, MILLION DOLLAR BABY) play two men, affected from the world in different ways, who meet up and become friends while avoiding the danger that comes their way.
Unlike Jet Li's previous films, UNLEASHED has the kung fu master portraying someone who has the mind of a child which allows him to show off some strong emotions but can still kick someone's 'hind pots. He limits his Wu Shu skills to employ some freestyle fighting with basic kicking, spinning kicks, quick-witted body blows and punches, and close-range attack moves. This was probably one of Li's most challenging performances in his career. It was also a different vehicle for him compared to previous movies.
Legendary Hong Kong choreographer Yuen Wo-Ping (THE MATRIX, FEARLESS, KILL BILL Vols. 1 & 2, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON) used his famous fight directing talents to construct realistic combat without the use of extended cables or CGI effects, and help make the battles believable as possible. Wo-Ping incorporates street fighting, kickboxing, aerial Tae Kwon Do, and weaponry. The set pieces allowed Li to fight in a large pool against 4 fighters, armed with weapons (a mallet, axe and a long spear), and exchanges blows with a Tae Kwon Do expert in a tight space that limits their fighting abilities and allow viewers to see what close-range attacks the two fighters pull off on one another.
The film's soundtrack featured techno, rock-n-roll and hip-hop beats, composed by Massive Attack and famed Wu Tang Clan hip-hop headliner The RZA, to help add an adrenaline edge and help viewers get into the flow and excitement of the film.
Some of the things that were unrealistic in the film was the fact that Morgan Freeman's character was too nice to Danny (Jet Li), who is a complete stranger and doesn't know what he is capable of doing. He lets Danny live in his house with his stepdaughter only days after they meet. He shows no suspicion toward this unknown man and the stepdaughter develops an attraction to Danny while Freeman does his Ray Charles thing with the face tilt and smile.
This was probably Freeman's most kind-hearted role to date in any film but it works for him as an A-list actor. Bob Hoskins' role was something taken from GOODFELLAS with his sense of humor, funny lines and a nasty temper to shape himself as a wicked godfather.
The screenplay by Luc Besson combined dark aspects with some humor and a little brutal violence while making room for the fight-action to take it's turn to keep the energy pumping for the fans but I think that Li still has a couple of more kicks and acting gigs to throw out to make a U.S. hit.
UNLEASHED unfolded a different side to Jet Li but he still performed his usual screen fighting expertise. The film itself was targeted toward adult viewers due to it's dark and brutal violence but the martial art brawls by Yuen Wo-Ping provided enough energy for the typical fans to salute to and not be disappointed.
Plook mun kuen ma kah 4 (1994)
A bad flaw in Thai action cinema
Stuntman-turned-film sensation Tony Jaa stunned the world with his gravity-defying stunts, Muay Thai kickboxing and acrobatics in the hit movies, ONG-BAK: THE THAI WARRIOR and THE PROTECTOR that would earn him U.S. acclaim and a possibility to become America's next action star.
SPIRITED KILLER was another unknown action movie from Thailand that featured loads of stylized fights along with the amazing skills of a then-unknown young Tony Jaa and the talented Panna Rittikrai who choreographed the stunning fights for ONG-BAK and THE PROTECTOR.
However, Jaa is not the star of this film and the advertisement on the box cover was material from Tony Jaa's first two films that were patched together to capitalize on his new founded fame in America. He has a small role that finds him displaying what would later make him famous. Rittikrai plays the title role and reveals himself as a respected martial arts star in Thailand. The film is set in the jungles of Thailand where an unstoppable killer (Rittikrai) goes on a rampage under the control of a voodoo priest. A group of travelers (who are seemingly stuntmen protégés and martial artists including Tony Jaa), search for hidden treasure only to encounter this essence of evil and engage in combat while they try to flee out the jungles. Of course, this was structured to have non-stop martial arts fights (staged by Rittikrai) to give action lovers a reason to watch the movie. As the star, Rittikrai highlights his impressive martial arts skills and weaponry. Jaa's screen time lasted a couple of minutes but it allowed him to engage in combat against Rittikrai with some amazing acrobatics and kicking techniques.
Even though the film packed loads of martial arts action, it suffers with dents and holes that include poor dubbing, a lame story and even a reused musical score taken from the 1994 Jack Nicholson film, WOLF. First, you see a voodoo priest giving villagers brew that supposedly extends their youth and makes them immortal but instead, it kills them instantly. The witnessing survivor and the remaining group of villagers beat up the priest and knock him into a lake. Next, a traveling bunch drives through the jungle and finds a mysterious man standing in the middle of their path without any explanation. The man stares at them and eliminates them one by one with martial arts while chasing the remaining survivors around the jungle with superhuman speed (with the help of MTV-style fast motion camera tricks). The priest returns to unravel more trouble for the villagers.
The only great thing you'll probably get out of this film are the expertly choreographed fight scenes and the impressive combat specialties of Panna Rittikrai who's engagement in martial arts, swordsmanship, nunchukus and the staff were phenomenal enough that it will appeal to fans of Bruce Lee's movies and classic gems like HERO, KILL BILL Vols. 1 & 2 and BLADE. Tony Jaa's short screen time is worth checking out just to learn what he was already capable of as a young newcomer. The only bad thing about the choreography is the fact that it resembles Hong Kong action to closely instead of the formula used in ONG-BAK and THE PROTECTOR.
The film's cliffhanger ending will have viewers come up with their own conclusion in the aftermath, at least until a sequel is made. If a filmmaker decides to helm a sequel, I hope that it has a better script with a bigger budget, better character development and improved set pieces. In the meantime, the movie is worth watching if you want to witness the talents of the two skillful Thai experts but do not expect it to be another ONG-BAK or PROTECTOR-style movie.
Long hang tian xia (1992)
A rare Jet Li fight-flick for fans
If you've seen Jet Li beat people down hard with kung-fu in ROMEO MUST DIE, UNLEASHED, CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE and KISS OF THE DRAGON, then you need to check out THE MASTER, a fist-flying kung-fu gem that features loads of realistic fight sequences that unfolds the extraordinary Wu Shu specialties of a then-unknown Jet Li.
Tsui Hark, the visionary director who helmed two Jean-Claude Van Damme-headlined vehicles, DOUBLE TEAM and KNOCK OFF, presented this story about a young Chinese martial artist (Li) from Hong Kong who travels to the United States in hopes of finding his master, Uncle Tak (played by Yuen Wah, the Landlord in KUNG FU HUSTLE). When arriving there, he learns that Tak was badly beaten in a fight by a former student named Johnny (Light Welterweight World Kickboxing Champion, Jerry Trimble), who is responsible for terrorizing martial art dojos across Downtown L.A. While Tak recovers from his injuries, Li tries to settle his differences with him while preparing for an all-out kung fu brawl against Johnny and his group of students in order to regain his master's honor.
Shot on location in L.A., THE MASTER was sort of how RUMBLE IN THE BRONX was with Jackie Chan where a Chinese kung-fu expert travels to a crime ridden area in America to achieve a simple goal while encountering thugs and impressing people with his combat methods. He teaches a Police Force healing secrets as if he was instructing a Tae Bo class, teaches a Latino gang kung fu to help them beat off thugs and faces off against an American martial artist to save his master and other hostages held by Johnny's students. The film's simple plot allowed plenty of space for non-stop martial art fights.
One of the film's greatest achievements was the nicely choreographed fight scenes, courtesy of co-star Yuen Wah who incorporated traditional kung fu and weaponry. The absence of fancy wirework and computer-generated effects allowed the fights to be believable and realistic as possible. Yuen Wah revealed his incredible kung fu specialties against a group of fighters on a building rooftop. He uses close-range takedowns, Wu Shu-oriented butterfly kicks, acrobatics, and other fight moves to show audiences that he is a true master of the art. Jerry Trimble exchanges blows with Jet Li on more than one occasion but the one-on-one finale features Trimble using Tae Kwon Do to execute his cinematic footwork while dealing with Li's counter attacks, fast-flowing jabs, and Wu Shu Kung Fu. In addition to that, fight, Li gets his leg stuck in a circular pipe handle but is still able to pull off kung fu.
Li helps his newly-befriended Latino gangster buddies fight off Johnny's posse (two of them who were played by stuntman and martial artist Steven Ho- Liu Kang's brother in MORTAL KOMBAT and Ju Jitsu expert Stefanos Militsakakis- BEST OF THE BEST 2, MAXIMUM RISK, DAREDEVIL) before facing off against Johnny on top of a car.
Yuen Wah is famous for his recent role as the Landlord in KUNG FU HUSTLE and remembered by fans as the man one who caught the apple in ENTER THE DRAGON and doubled for Bruce Lee in some of the sequences. He also had a small role in Chinese CONNECTION (aka FIST OF FURY) as the Japanese who taunts Lee by telling him to walk like a dog. He was a regular in old-school kung fu flicks produced by the legendary Shaw Brothers (recently saluted by Quentin Tarrantino in KILL BILL VOL. 1's opening).
World Karate Champion and Tae Bo exercise founder Billy Blanks made a quick-second cameo as a gang thug but unfortunately, he did not do any fighting which was a disappointment. The reason why the filmmakers did not let him fight will be a mystery but with his martial arts skill (shown in countless B-grade Hollywood movies), he should have fought someone but instead, he is depicted as an unknown extra.
Originally filmed in 1989, THE MASTER would not earn the 5-time National Wushu Champion his crown to superstardom. The film was delayed until 1992 because Li and Tsui Hark were unaware of what was to come that year when they collaborated again to make ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA, which was a box-office success and Li's ticket to superstardom (in Asia).
To help capitalize on Li's fame in America, the generally unknown film, THE MASTER finally got an international DVD release in 2002 by Miramax Films to give viewers the chance to witness the stunning talents of this kung fu master.
Overall, THE MASTER was a bad movie with good fight scenes. It suffered form poor acting and bad antics but it still deserves a full view because it was one of a few modern kung-fu movies to feature lightning-fast, raw and street-effective kung fu to make it comparable to fight-films like ONG-BAK and THE PROTECTOR.
Mou gaan dou (2002)
A masterpiece in Hong Kong cinematic excellence
Renowned directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak delivered a visionary art form of action and suspense in the Hong Kong award-winning masterpiece, INFERNAL AFFAIRS that takes you into the world of organized crime and police corruption.
A Superintendent (Anthony Wong- John Woo's HARD BOILED, BLACK MASK and THE MEDALLION) recruits a rookie cop ("Tony" Leung Chui-Wai- Jet Li's HERO) as an undercover operative to work his way into the triad ring and help bring down the leader (Eric Tsang- THE ACCIDENTAL SPY and Jet Li's CONTRACT KILLER). What the two are unaware of is that the leader has a mole (Andy Lau- HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS and Jackie Chan's LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER) who works in the police department.
The story in INFERNAL AFFAIRS will appeal to movie lovers of TRAINING DAY, DARK BLUE, RESERVOIR DOGS, and CITY ON FIRE.
Andy Lau plays Lau Kin-Ming who grew up around the life of crime headlined by triad boss Hon Sam (Eric Tsang). Sam feeds him the criminal lifestyle before he enters the police academy to obtain the proper needs to be a good cop. He witnesses his classmate Chan Wing-Yam (Tony Leung) get expelled from the academy which was planted as an act for him to be recruited by Superintendent Wong (Anthony Wong) as an undercover cop. Lau secretly works for Hon Sam while succeeding in the police department and Chan gains Sam's trust as a triad member. A decade passes by and the two cops maintain their same positions but are confused about their identities. Both bosses eventually learn that the other has a mole working for them and loyalty turns into betrayal, then things begin to unfold.
Renowned action choreographer Dion Lam (THE PROMISE, EXIT WOUNDS, SPIDER-MAN 2, and DOOM) also stepped in to take part in the film as one of the triad members who takes down an important character in the movie.
The movie featured masterful cinematography, nice action sequences, suspense, and a strong cast to help pull the strings and earn it Best Picture at the 2002 Hong Kong Film Awards. Famed director Martin Scorsese (GOODFELLAS) would take inspiration from the film to helm the 2006 American remake, THE DEPARTED, which would also earn multiple nominations and awards due to its success. This tells you that if it was not for INFERNAL AFFAIRS, THE DEPARTED would have never came into existence, which is more evident that the movie was a crime-thrilling phenomenon and a highly recommended film for American audiences.
This movie is a phenomenal classic due to its excellent story, a supporting cast, and a nice twist, which makes it an enjoyable cop movie and a masterpiece in cinematic excellence for years to come
Zhi zun te jing (1992)
An unknown cop-fu film from the choreographer of THE PROMISE and SPIDER-MAN 2, and the star of MORTAL KOMBAT
World-class martial arts champion Robin Shou made a name for himself in the West when he displayed his impressive fight specialties in MORTAL KOMBAT, MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION and the action comedy BEVERLY HILLS NINJA but this generally unknown inde Hong Kong film will not meet the expectations of "KOMBAT" fans.
INTERPOL CONNECTION (aka HARD TO KILL) centers on two Hong Kong cops (Robin Shou and Lee Chun Wa) who settle their differences toward one another while struggling to focus on their mission. The unusual dynamic duel go out to track down notorious drug dealer (Phillip Ko-DREADNAUGHT, SECRET RIVALS 2, EAGLE'S CLAW and THE BOXER'S OMEN) but find themselves in a number of unexpected situations. They eventually get help from a beautiful Japanese police officer (played by Japanese martial arts queen Yukari Oshima-ANGEL, SUPERCOP 2, BEAUTY INVESTIGATOR and SHANGHAI EXPRESS) who is skilled in the art of combat, and the three go out to take down the drug lord and his army of gangsters.
Moviegoers of MORTAL KOMBAT will be disappointed when they learn that Robin does not have the Liu Kang persona. The film also switches around to have you think whether it is a workout video, a drama, a comedy or a "Heroic Bloodshed" movie done by a filmmaker whose exposure to John Woo flicks fell below the waist side. These elements featured like a collection of short stories from a documentary that drags the production in the dirt at times.
The movie also falls flat with a recycled "cops-n-robbers" theme from movies, and many unrelated situations come in place that does not fit in properly with the film's concept. However, viewers can overlook some of the film's holes when the fast-flowing martial arts action that takes its turn to allow Robin Shou and Yukari Oshima some room to highlight what they do best.
There's also a downfall with Yukari's presence that viewers will notice because she appears too late in the movie and basically steals the show from Robin as the better performer with her remarkable physical attributes and martial arts skills. Viewers will look directly at her and almost lose complete focus with Robin.
The filmmakers enlisted the aid of legendary Wushu expert and action choreographer Dion Lam (THE PROMISE, SPIDER-MAN 2, EXIT WOUNDS and additional action choreographer for BLACK MASK and THE MATRIX Trilogy) to incorporate lots of realistic combat, which comes full circle during the finale where Robin and Yukari face off against two fighters in a one-on-one showdown. Robin executes some long-range kicks, close range combat and executes an impressive move where he jumps in the air and delivers a nice Wushu-style flying spin kick against his fallen foe. Yukari faces off against a skilled martial artist, on a building rooftop where the two pull off ariel Tae Kwon Do. The two knock down flower vases with spinning kicks while locking their legs to crush sunglasses and battle each other with the staff.
As skilled screen fighters, Robin has the strength of an athlete and the kicking power of a kickboxer while Yukari uses the speed & flexibilities of an acrobat, the weaponry of a Shaolin warrior and the kicking skills of a Tae Kwon Do master. As I said before in all honesty, Yukari steals the show from Robin with her good looks, martial arts mastery and overall performance that outshines Robin like Bruce Lee's did with Van Williams in the THE GREEN HORNET.
Besides the martial arts action, you will get some bad slapstick humor by Robin Shou's partner, played by Lee Chun Wa. Fans of kung-fu movies might recognize this Bolo Yeung-like built figure from kick-flicks like DRUNKEN MASTER, HELL'S WIND STAFF, GAME OF DEATH II, THE FURIOUS and other '70s/'80s fight flicks. He does not play that character type this time but his portrayal as the Philippine cop, King Kong (not the Giant Gorilla) goes from oddball to goof ball with his childish behavior, bad jokes and a few funny lines that will annoy you at times and hardly make you laugh.
It is also worth mentioning that actor Simon Yam (TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE, NAKED KILLER and Jet Li's CONTRACT KILLER) gets some limited screen time where his cameo role depicts him as a no-name actor trying to snatch a quick paycheck (in reality).
Overall, INTERPOL CONNECTION was poorly structured and was not the best work of Phillip Ko as a director and actor. Over the years, Ko has established himself as a prolific filmmaker in other independent Taiwanese and Hong Kong productions but this film just does not cut it for him. However, Dion Lam's choreography shined Robin and Yukari's diverse martial art moves and the presentation of the fight sequences evolved a great quality to give fans something to watch and not be discouraged by the poor aspects of the film.