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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 4/13/00

Gen-X Cops
1999 (2000) - Media Asia Films (Columbia TriStar)

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Gen-X Cops Film Rating: B-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/A

Specs and Features

113 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch 1:35:35, at the start of chapter 25), Amaray keep case packaging, "making-of" documentary featuring teaser trailer and a music video, 10 deleted scenes with English and French subtitles (51 mins worth), Jackie Chan bio and filmography, theatrical trailers for Gen-X Cops and Who Am I?, film-themed menus, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English and Cantonese (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles: English and French, Closed Captioned

"You can’t outrun your fate."

After you watch the trailer for this film, you’re going to expect wall-to-wall, stylized action and super cool characters with no love for the world, who live fast, die young and leave behind a beautiful corpse. But what you really have here is not so action packed. Sure, there are stunts out the wazzo, but Gen-X Cops actually takes a little while to find its feet. Now, that’s not saying it’s bad, because it isn’t. I actually liked it. But it didn’t grab me like, say... Beast Cops might. It’s kind of slow going, with bursts of adrenaline, instead of the shoot ‘em up like the trailer leads you to believe. That may be a good thing, actually. I’ve seen a lot of Hong Kong action films and I think I know what is good, what is great and what totally blows. This is one of the good ones.

Gen-X Cops presents a story of a triad coming apart at the seams. A young up-and-coming Japanese Yakuza sets into motion a very stylized plan to break apart a successful HK triad, and rebuild it with his own needs in mind. To do this, he recruits the young brother of the triad leader to kill his own brother. His reward: control of the group. So when this goes down, a tremendous wake of innocent and guilty alike are left dead and the police want answers. How do they get them? They recruit a bunch of young toughs, who were about to get expelled from the police academy, to infiltrate the gang as criminals. It’s the Chinese Mod Squad - literally. There’s Jack, the fighter/leader. Alien is the wacky one who wants to have fun and Match is the ladies man. Y2K, a beautiful lady cop (and sister to an officer that was killed during all the above dealings) eventually joins these three fellas.

Besides a cool crime story, what else makes HK action flicks... well, HK action flicks? That would be the stunts and the fighting. The stunts here include a formation skydive, a building jump, an exploding boat house and a huge special effect overseen by the same folks who blew up the White House in ID4. It’s all very impressive. The acting is good, the characters are pretty cool and the effects and fight choreography are top notch. But I felt like this was an introduction story for a bunch of really cool sequels. Now that they don’t need the exposition, in the future, we can have all out war with Jack, Match, Alien and Y2K. If this is to be a franchise, it's got great potential.

So now it’s on DVD, and you’re saying to yourself, "Gee, Todd... who cares what you think about HK action, I’ll make my own decision. But is the disc any good?" The answer to that my friends, is a resounding yes. This disc pretty much rocks. It’s about as special an edition as the ultra-cool edition of The Untold Story, sans the commentary tracks. The anamorphic transfer is super-sweet, with rich colors, solid blacks and little to no grain. You’ll never guess that this is a flick from HK (which usually show enormous grain). The English and original Cantonese audio tracks both sound wonderful. They’re both presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 and they’re rich and full. I can’t vouch for the translating because my Cantonese is bad, but it fits what’s going on in the film and that’s what counts for most of us.

The proof here is in the pudding. There are some extras on board that you would never expect to find on the DVD of a film like this. There’s a full-on documentary about the making of the film, with interviews and added material like a video and teaser trailer. It’s a nice study on the art of filmmaking in HK and it’s chock-full of useful info. There’s also close to a full hour of deleted scenes that are heavy on character development (I almost wish they weren’t cut). You’ll have to see them to believe them. Throw in one of the best trailers I’ve seen for an action movie (English or otherwise), and you have one very buff DVD edition.

If HK action is your thing, then this might be just the disc you’ve been waiting for. I’m really looking forward to more films in this series - hopefully, it was a big enough hit to warrant another film. I actually liked these characters a lot and I'll probably pop this disc into my player again for another spin sometime soon. Just writing about it makes me like it even more. Gen-X Cops will grow on you and, for that alone, it’s worth checking out.

Todd Doogan
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