Sunday, 13 July 2008

The Enforcer/My Father is a Hero (1995)

Jet Li is Wei Kong, an undercover cop in mainland China. Despite his demanding job he tries to be a good husband to his severely ill wife, and a good father to his son (Miu Tse), who wants to be just as good a kung fu master as daddy. And so, they train 'dragon breathing' (holding your breath, so you have a better chance at surviving being strangled) every morning after brushing their teeth:

Since this is described so closely, we can expect Junior to be choked many times during the film ...

Wei Kong's latest job is to infiltrate the gang of wiseguy Po Kwong (the exquisitely overacting Rongguang Yu) in Hong Kong. Inspector Fong of the Hong Kong police (Anita Mui) investigates the gang's activities, and she eventually goes to Wei Kong's hometown Beijing to find out more about him. There, she comes across his dying wife, his kid, and the fact that he's a copper. She brings Junior along with her to Hong Kong, and the three of them team up to bring down the criminals together.

Martial arts:
Of course, there is a great showdown, with, not least, an exciting tonfa fight (everybody against Jet Li, as usual).

The most delightful part, however, might be boss Po Kwong's 'coat fighting style'.

Now you see it, now you don't ...

Our hero blocks an attack by grabbing wiseguy's wrists ...

Oops, but those are just the sleeves he's holding on to! Where did the hands go?

Wham! They're right here!!

Inspector Fong also kicks ass, as does Junior. But be warned against when father and son team up near the end, and dad ties up son on a rope and whirls and yo-yoes him around to kick at the opponents in a way that actually wouldn't be humanly possible even for Jet Li and Miu Tse ...

Argh, where can I even begin on this topic ...?! Wei Kong's wife is the classical case of a quiet, sweet-natured doormat woman, who on her deathbed sees the great opportunity to appoint the policewoman who came to investigate her husband to take her place as a mother and wife.
Now, Inspector Fong herself has been waiting an amazing *five years* for her spineless boyfriend (also in the police force) to make up his mind about whether he will leave his wife or not (like so many other idiots in this world, he prefers the benefits of having it both ways). During the film Fong comes to realise what a jerk he is, and even after he eventually does divorce his wife and asks her to marry him, she declines. So, wow, has she finally gained some respect for herself? - No, she has just found her place as the replacement wife and mother of Wei Kong and Junior.

For Inspector Fong, being taken hostage was the beginning of a great new romance and family life.

Hunk factor:
Jet Li is a quite convincing "dad", so I guess the 'hunk factor' in this film only applies to people who are old enough to find dads attractive. But his character is a sweet guy, so that shouldn't be any problem ...