We're No Bad Guys

Reviewed by YTSL

In many ways, this 1997 movie that is part crime drama, gun actioneer plus romantic, buddy and parodic comedy is precisely the kind that comes to mind upon one’s hearing a description of it as a 1990s Wong Jing scripted cum helmed effort.  By this, I mean that it’s an indulgently multi-genre work that’s saddled with a script which appears to have been written on the fly, and whose tone is apt to veer from deathly serious to wholly ridiculous (and maybe even back again) in a blink of an eye.  Almost needless to say, the often throwaway feeling offering also is one that contains its share of jokes re fecal matter, penile erection and male masturbation together with some absolutely spot on -- and consequently successful -- as well as scatter shot film parodies (of, in this case, movies ranging from the Bond films -- courtesy of “From Beijing with Love”’s Law Kar Ying -- to “Police Academy 2” to “Happy Together”).

With such as the two cop characters who the mother (Meg Lam) of one of them mistook for a time to be a gay couple being played by Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan though, the imprint of producers Manfred Wong and Andrew Lau is just as readily apparent on this work -- whose English title of WE’RE NO BAD GUYS this (re)viewer took as representing a retort to those of these film-makers’ critics who have accused them of tending to be on the side of the Triads rather than opposing law enforcers.  Other faces in the cast that will be familiar to fans of the “Young and Dangerous” films include: Lee Siu Kei (who is this effort’s line producer as well as had a small role as a “stained” or “dirty witness” that the cops were charged with protecting known as Dirty Fook); Michael Chan (whose Officer Mike’s defining attributes are his being a police Unit Head and admitted masochist); Spencer Lam (as a bomb squad member); and Alex Fong (as an ace assassin known as Angel).
Additionally, there’s the woman who the men behind WE’RE NO BAD GUYS wisely entrusted with portraying a plain clothes policewoman named Carrie and her doppelganger, a computer expert referred to as Siu Man on the film’s Cantonese language track but Mandy in the English subtitles (Those who are into Hong Kong entertainment gossip might derive extra amusement from both of Gigi Leung’s characters ending up being loved by Ekin Cheng’s unconventionally monikered Plane).  And while the movie’s other leading lady, Vivian Hsu, never was a part of the Y&D universe, her Siu Lin (AKA Tinny) character -- who Jordan Chan’s Turkey Chu is infatuated with -- can be said to recall (or should it be prefigure?) at least one of those who Hsu Chi essayed in that series of Triad dramas that had its heyday in the latter portion of the 1990s.
The first of these characters that the audience of WE’RE NO BAD GUYS get introduced are Plane and Carrie.  Along with some other police officers who don’t get much opportunity to make a genuine impression, they have been assigned to protect the appropriately nicknamed Dirty Fook prior to his giving evidence in court against a major underworld figure variously known as “Golden Teeth”, Robert (Ng Ting Yip) and Brother Kam (N.B. that “kam” is the Cantonese word for gold).  But before the movie even gets past the twenty minute mark, we are witness to the violent demise of Carrie and others (including Dirty Fook) -- but not so Plane -- at the hands of Angel (who -- along with his never named collaborator -- had been hired to carry out the murderous job by this work’s main baddie).
Soon after, WE’RE NO BAD GUYS flashes forward a year and turns its attention to Turkey Chu (along with his eccentric -- maybe even downright crazy -- inventor father (Law Kar Ying’s character likes to think that he’s a gadget laden James Bond type secret agent and wishes to be known as the “Jade Dragon, Chu Sai Bond” to even his son)) before Plane gets back into the picture as the still grieving for Carrie cop who Turkey has been newly assigned to partner.  In the process, the mood lightens considerably, at least for a time.  Much of the rest of the movie also differs from its beginning section in terms of having a less “tight” feel to its story as well as overall proceedings.
If truth be told, I initially found these developments to be quite disappointing plus disconcerting; this not least since my sense was that there was enough substance in WE’RE NO BAD GUYS’s main plot for it to have been a good enough straight crime drama (with an enhanced role for the charismatic yet too frequently under-utilized Alex Fong along with a diminished one for the rather insubstantial acting Vivian Hsu).  Post reconciling myself to the fact that Wong Jing would be having his (usual) way however, I actually was able to sit back and not only accept but also be entertained by many of this offering’s additional sub-plots, and what might be seen as bonus gags as well as imaginatively far-fetched segments (E.g., a sequence that started off with Turkey having a shower that involved a bomb being dealt with as though it were a soccer ball, the result of which involved the scattering of various toilet parts plus contents far and wide, and -- rather satisfyingly -- atop at least one boorish individual!).

My rating for the film: 6.5