Young Policemen in Love
Reviewed by YTSL
Little doubt should exist that this trifle
of a movie is much more than a vehicle for an attractive troika of young
Cantopop stars cum teen idols. Ditto re its being a lesser work for
at least two -- if not all three -- of these talented individuals.
After all, we're talking about the appearances in a Wong Jing produced,
Chu Yen-Ping directed film by: A man whose portrayal of a pineapple-eating
policeman undoubtedly captured more female hearts than Tony Leung Chiu-Wai's
equally love-lorn cop in "Chungking Express"; a lass whose debut movie
was "Ashes of Time"; and a fellow who Tsui Hark had chosen to act as Charlie
Yeung's romantic interest in -- not one but -- two Film Workshop offerings
(i.e., "The Lovers" and "Love in the Time of Twilight").
Considering that Takeshi Kaneshiro had also previously
performed well in tandem with Charlie Yeung in "Fallen Angels", it was
a given that there would be good chemistry between the lead actress and
both the main males in YOUNG POLICEMEN IN LOVE. What does come as
a pleasant surprise -- as well as helpful necessity, considering that the
female member of the headlined trio does not show up until the 50th minute
of the film -- is that Nicky Wu and Takeshi Kaneshiro (playing a pair of
nattily dressed policemen; one of whom is called Garlic -- because he has
a propensity for chomping on those smelly vegetables for courage and at
leisure -- and the other of whom is known as Gimmick because, well...!)
work well together and complement each other too.
YOUNG POLICEMEN IN LOVE starts off with Garlic
and Gimmick -- a.k.a. agents (89)007 and (89)008 respectively! -- hanging
out and bantering cum bickering while waiting for an informant, then springing
into John Woo parody style action upon finding that their stool pigeon
had been tailed by bad guys, and following the criminals to a warehouse
where a balletic gun battle ensues and a bag full of cocaine is successfully
taken away from the possession of villains. Although this legal heist
makes heroes of the duo, it also creates danger for them by way of the
still at-large chief gangster wanting revenge (along with the return of
that which he considers to be his).
The two policemen's superior's solution to this
is to give them a special assignment: Which involves Garlic and Gimmick
going undercover as students of Wong Fei Hung(!) School to ensure the safety
of a high-level Mainland Chinese official's daughter slated to attend an
academy which, if not entirely suspect, at least possesses one very strange
disciplinary teacher (who readily welcomes whatever opportunity he gets
to administer "no shadow kicks" and other kungfu moves on delinquent or
even just lackadaisical students!) and a female teacher who turns out to
be a policewoman assigned to help them fulfill their duties (who both of
our bachelor duo fall for). While there were a few goofball antics
and gags to already giggle at beforehand, the fun begins in earnest with
the arrival of the quirky-acting -- and (initially) exceedingly homely-looking
-- Mainland Chinese girl introduced as Kong Mei Lai; not least because
the decision is made that the best way to unsuspiciously be constantly
around her is for one of the two handsome as well as young members of the
Royal Hong Kong Police to (pretend to seek to) court her.
IMHO, the incredibly winning Charlie Yeung --
who must be the first person to have ever decided to forego a successful
career in Hong Kong movies to become an image consultant in Malaysia! --
manages to steal the show even while also bringing out the best in her
co-stars. The absolute highlight sequence in YOUNG POLICEMEN IN LOVE
involves her character's twarting, at every step, Gimmick's best laid plans
to impress her by enacting his vaunted "Five Invincible Steps to Romance".
The climactic showdown between the vengeful villains from earlier in the
movie and our two heroes plus the one heroine also makes for good cinema.
All in all, particularly if you are a fan of the prematurely retired actress,
Kaneshiro or Nicky Wu (who gets to look especially good in the end battle),
the viewing of this -- admittedly apt to be all over the place and sometimes
downright nonsensical -- work ought to constitute a fun way to spend some
ninety minutes of your time.
My rating for the film: 7.