Supercop (a.k.a. Project S)
(Chao ji ji hua) (1993)
Directed by Stanley Tong

Artistic Value: * *
Entertainment Value: * * ½

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Jessica Yang (Michelle Yeoh), a police officer in Communist China, is asked to assist in an investigation in Hong Kong. There she is teamed with two local detectives and helps them uncover a plot to rob a bank. As these three set out to stop the gang behind this conspiracy, Jessica is brought into conflict with her own boyfriend, who had previously left home to make his fortune, but, instead, became involved in various criminal activities.

Stanley Tong's Supercop is a forgettable, low budget, but often enjoyable action film. While it is hardly the best such movie to have been made in Hong Kong, it is generally able to keep the viewer's attention.

Most of the film's fight sequences are well choreographed and genuinely entertaining. That near the movie's conclusion, in which the small, slender Yeoh fights an enormous, hulking opponent, is especially fun.

The narrative, however, as is commonly the case in Hong Kong action films, is often arbitrary and does little more than provide excuses for the frequent fight sequences. One scene, in which Inspector Chan (Jackie Chan) makes an appearance in drag and does battle with an identically dressed opponent, is, admittedly, so completely tangential to the story that the director has not even bothered to try to explain its presence. The routine is simply inserted into the movie. Even those scenes which appear to have been included specifically to drive the plot often lead nowhere instead. For example, while one of the Hong Kong police officers with whom Jessica is working is shown as being romantically interested in her, and much is made of this interest at several points in the film, in the end it is just forgotten. As many if not most viewers will be far more interested in the action sequences than in the scenes interrupting them, this is, perhaps, not much of issue.

In fact, it is possible that the viewer will actually enjoy both the arbitrariness of the story and the less than impressive talents displayed by a number of the actors as they attempt to bring the narrative to life. Suffice it to say, the quality of the acting ranges from mediocre to dreadful, and, when it is bad, it can be humorously bad.

Although Supercop is occasionally slow moving, somewhat shoddily made, and not entirely coherent, it is often fun and exciting, nonetheless. Whatever its shortcomings, it is still, by and large, a pleasant diversion.

Review by Keith Allen

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