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Badges of Fury (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 27, 2013 by  



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While “Badges of Fury” is far from being a great action comedy, its craziness, its over-the-top action and humor is worth watching if you are a fan of Jet Li or want a popcorn action/comedy film that is not too immersive or deep.

Images courtesy of © 2013 Beijing Enlight Pictures Co., Ltd. Hong Kong Pictures International Limited. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Badges of Fury

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Mandarin and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Mandarin and English Dolby Digital 2.0, Subtitles: English, Spanish and French

COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: January 7, 2014

Directed by Tsz Ming Wong

Written by Tan Cheung

Executive Producer: Bak-Ming Wong

Music by Kenji Kawai

Cinematography by Chi Ying chan

Edited by Drew Thompson

Production Design by Kenneth Mak

Starring:

Jet Li as Huang Feihong

Zhang Wen as Wang Bu’er

Shishi Liu as Liu Jinshui

Michelle Chen as Angela

Yan Liu as Dai Yiyi

Collin Chou as Chen Hu

Lik-Sun Fong as Liu Jinshui’s uncle

Stephen Fung as Liu Jun

When a series of eerie murders erupt across Hong Kong, two trouble making cops are assigned to the case. Young maverick WANG (Zhang Wen) is a reckless risk-taker, and grizzled vet HUANG (Jet Li) is fed up with cleaning up his rookie’s messes. After discovering all the victims were former boyfriends of aspiring starlet LIU, the detectives (one now posing as her lover) are caught in a deadly game to lure the killer out.

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Quite often when you watch Hong Kong films, there are certain type of films that feature a lot of star cameos, an over-the-top storyline and for the most part, films that are popcorn action or comedy films, that are usually not the best, but you watch them to catch a film with a plethora of film stars.

Surprisingly, “Badges of Fury” is not a New Year’s film, it’s a summer Chinese-Hong Kong action comedy film that incorporates a Hong Kong New Year’s film but also an action style similar to a retro police and action comedy film from the ’80s and ’90s with a lot of wirework and over-the-top storyline.

Directed by Tsz Ming Wong (a first time director) and writer Tan Cheung (“Iron Monkey”, “Once Upon a Time in China II”, “Shaolin”), “Badges of Fury” is a film with plenty of cameos by Asian entertainers, while its main cast includes Jet Li (“Hero”, “Fearless”, “The Warlords”, “Romeo Must Die”), Zhang Wen (“Ocean Paradise”, “The Emperor and the Snake”, “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons”), Shishi Liu (“The Next Magic”, “Sad Fairy Tale”), Michelle Chen (“Together”, “Ripples of Desire”, “The Soul of Bread”), Yan Liu (“The Zodiac Mystery”, “Laugh and Cry Forbidden”, “Marry a Perfect Man”), Collin Chou (“Fearless”, “The Matrix” films, “The Forbidden Kingdom”), Lik-Sun Fong (“Summer Love”, “East Meets West”), Stephen Fung (“Gen-X Cops”, “House of Fury”, “Tai Chi Zero”) and more.

And now the film will be released in the US in Jan. 2014 courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment.

“Badges of Fury” begins with various men, may they be businessman, athletes or an entertainer, all dying with a smile on their face.  Is there a reason why all these men are dying?

After a bumbled case involving detective Wang Buer (portrayed by Wen Zhang), who keeps daydreaming that he solves a case with a fight via martial arts with ’80s and ’90s cinema style with flying kicks and more.

Having enough with his antics, his boss Angela (portrayed by Michelle Chen) has him teaming up with veteran detective Huang Feihong (portrayed by Jet Li), even though Wang doesn’t want to be partnered with anyone.

One thing they realize through their investigation is that each of these men all had one thing in common, they were all dating actress Liu Jinshui (portrayed by Cecilia Liu).

While the police are able to arrest Liu Jinshui, she is let go because of lack of evidence.   She is picked up by her buxom sister Dai Yiyi (portrayed by Ada Liu), a former darts champion who also had stolen the boyfriends of Jinshui.  But are any of these women involved in the murders of Jinshui’s ex-boyfriends?  If so, what would be the motive?

Meanwhile, Jinshui’s cousin Liu Jun (portrayed by Stephen Fung) tries to help her by taking her to a fortune teller (portrayed by Alex Fong Lik-sun) who explains to her that she is under a curse and to be careful.

As Jinshui receives a call from her last ex-boyfriend Gao Min (portrayed by Raymond Lam), he goes to confess his love for her but to apologize for leaving her for her sister Dai Yiyi.  And as he is about to give her an engagement ring after proposing to her, he becomes the next victim to die with a smile on his face.

Fearing for Jinshui’s life, the police has Wang Buer pretend he is the boyfriend of Jinshui in hopes to draw out the real killer.  But will their plan work?

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VIDEO:

“Badges of Fury” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9 widescreen).  The film looks great on Blu-ray as closeups show quite a bit of detail, skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep.  No signs of banding or artifacts, the film is presented with great clarity and sharpness and looks amazing in HD.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Badges of Fury” is presented in Mandarin and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  Action scenes feature good use of the surround channels.  Dialogue is crystal clear but did notice that the English dub track is more pronounced than its Mandarin counterpart.  But for the most part, both soundtracks sound very good.

Subtitles are in English, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Badges of Fury” comes with the following special features:

  • Making Of – (26:13) Featuring a making of with interviews with the guys, the ladies, action scenes and the film’s funny story.
  • Behind the Scenes – (13:55) Featuring behind-the-scenes footage of the making of “Badges of Fury”.
  • Trailer – (1:39) Theatrical trailer for “Badges of Fury”.

EXTRAS:

“Badges of Fury” comes with a slipcover.

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Watching “Badges of Fury”, the first thing I had to look up on the Internet was its theatrical release date in Hong Kong.

I had to find out if this was a New Year’s film because of its many star cameos (from HK and mainland talents) but also because it’s a type of film that I would never expect to see Jet Li take part in.  It’s goofy, it’s crazy, it’s comedy either makes you laugh or makes you feel embarrassed by its lackadaisical scene.

It’s a film that is reminiscent of ’80s and ’90 HK comedy/action films.  From the overuse of cablework and characters flying from a distance to do a kick, the protagonist Wang Buer who is more interested in dreaming about martial arts moves that were from that era of movies with him performing them, while also trying to flirt with the ladies.

As Wen Zhang is in the film more for comic relief, along with his boss Angela (portrayed by Michelle Chen), who is a stylish leader of the detectives who acts as if she’s not interested in Wen Zhang but somehow finds herself attracted to his antics.

While Jet Li is sparingly used for comedy bits but when he’s put into the action, his action scenes are possibly the most exciting of the film.  But this film is less about Jet Li as it is a comedy vehicle for actor Wen Zhang.

But as mentioned, the story is quite over the top.  One scene features Wang Buer taking on a group of elderly martial artists or him trying to give Angela a boost by throwing her up into an apartment complex and of course, Angela hitting her head on a ceiling or going through a doorway plus the murders that take place in the film, all feature men dying with a big smile on their face.

You get a few parodies of other films introduced in “Badges of Fury” and you have actress Cecilia Liu in many costumes, from leather to Sailor Moon.  While Ada Liu is more of a character of fan service who comes into a room and the guys, specifically Wang who can’t help but look at her chest.

Suffice to say, for those who are familiar with Hong Kong New Year’s films will know the quality of “Badges of Fury”.  It may star Jet Li, it may feature cameos from many talents from Hong Kong and China but it does not make for a great film.  Surprising, considering Tan Cheung, best known for a lot of his martial arts films from the ’80s and ’90s is the writer of “Badges of Fury”.

While I wish “Badges of Fury” was a true summer blockbuster film with an entertaining storyline, “Badges of Fury” is too much like a New Year film that is full of star cameos and an uninspiring story that is full of action but also full of jokes that either work or fall flat on the floor.

Overall, while “Badges of Fury” is far from being a great action comedy, its craziness, its over-the-top action and humor is worth watching if you are a fan of Jet Li or want a popcorn action/comedy film that is not too immersive or deep.

 

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