Friday, August 3, 2012

SuperCop - aka, Why Jackie Chan cannot be insured...

There are moments in each of our lives where the answers to our questions are so blaringly clear that they cannot be confused. Like, is the sun bright? Is that bright red burner on the stove hot? Is the fact that Jackie Chan just jumped off that building the reason why he is very difficult to insure?

The answers to these questions are a resounding yes. And we proved the last question this past week when we watched "Supercop", starring Jackie Chan.

Now, if you are unfamiliar with Mr. Chan's work, let us just tell you that this movie involves some sweet martial arts... and moments of ridiculous comedy bordering on the likes of the great American classics like "Laurel & Hardy", and "The Three Stooges". And, if you have no idea who those comedy acts are... (dude), get yourself on YouTube and educate yourself.


Here is a little background on our movie, just so we're official. Supercop, aka Ging Chat goo si2: Chiu kup ging chat, is a 1992 release directed by Stanley Tong (SuperCop2, Rumble in the Bronx, China Strike Force, etc), and is written by Edward Tang (Legend of Drunken Master, Rumble in the Bronx, etc), Fibe Ma (Rumble in the Bronx, Mr. Niceguy), and Lee Wai Yee. It stars Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh (YAY!!), Wa Yuen, and a whole bunch of other people. And, if it seems as though we am glossing those folks over... We are, because we want to talk about the movie.

Our film starts with some seriously crazy graphic novel, Bruce Lee in "Chinese Connection" style credits, complete with soundtrack as written by Joel McNeely. Jackie Chan rolls onto the scene clad head to toe in acid washed denim, and riding on a monster Yamaha that seems to be emitting the sound of a sooped up dirt bike.

But that is neither here nor there.

SO... He walks into police headquarters to overhear the Inspector Wong and Inspector Chen having a rather loud conversation about the troubles they are having with a recent string of crimes and how they need a "Supercop". Of course, the two men know that Kevin (Chan) is outside the room eavesdropping, so they attempt to make the job really enticing in order to lure him in. Aaaaannnd... it works. In two shakes of a rabbits tail, Kevin is now a "Supercop" and is off on a super secret covert mission which he must keep from his girlfriend "May", which he sucks at entirely.

As he arrives at the station to take off on said mission, he and his girlfriend arrive in their generic model asian economy car with Gangsta rap blaring out the windows.

I... uh... buwhaaa???

HEY! Who wrote this soundtrack??? Oh, wait. Yeah. That would be Joel McNeely.

Joel, Joel, Joel... (tsk, tsk) Do you really think Kevin listens to gangsta rap? He's a cop... decked in denim... driving what appears to be a WHITE, economy class Hyundai. 

Fortunately for Mr. McNeely, Supercop was his FIRST film score... so we'll cut him some slack. But just a little. Because scorn is sort of funny when it has a great punchline attached.

OK. So, Kevin is now transported to the new headquarters where he will be working. He is greeted by several upper level police officers that resemble a Moa-esque triad... and Chief Yang, played by Michelle Yeoh (Haaaay... HOooo). She runs Kevin through his new secret identity (A fabric mill owner turned prisoner as a result of some random, undefined crime... according to our translation of the film). And, just as he sucked at lying to his girlfriend, he sucks as learning this secret identity stuff. Frustrated with his lame performance, Chief Yang takes him to an insanely ridiculous photo shoot, and then exercise yard (aka training facilities) to meet a few of the officers on staff, where it is apparent that she intends to make an "ass" of him. This results in a pretty explosive, and entirely hilarious display of Kung Fu shennanigans that ends with Kevin attempting to escape conflict and responsibility, and thus ending up hanging upside down in a tree.  (Classic Jackie Chan, and we're only 17 minutes into the film!) And honestly, it is here that you realize:

1) Jackie Chan's sheer athleticism is AWESOME
2) He has a deep comedic capacity
3) He is TOTALLY un-insurable!!! 

...and again, we're only 17 minutes into the the film here.

SO, moving right along... Kevin is now given his orders and is dumped into the Hsaokuan Prison Camp in order to free "Panther" under false pretense... he in his crisp, clean prison clothes NATURALLY fitting in with all the other filthy coal digging prisoners. (We're surprised that he didn't get "figured out" at this point)

Here is where this becomes a complex storyline. 
So, just do your best to keep pace with our A.D.D. storytelling style.

Several delivery trucks arrive on the scene. They are here to smuggle out "Panther" as well. It's a race to see who can get him out first. The bad guys, OR the good-bad-guys? After a bollocksed escape attempt with the punching and the stabbing and the poking, Kevin grabs "Panther", makes a run for it down a corridor, up THE MOST ridiculously steep hill, complete with hilarious prop comedy bits, only to find that the bridge they are supposed to cross is actually a 2 mile long, several hundred feet high, zip-line with a tiny basket attached.

And again, it is made ENTIRELY clear as to why Mr. Chan cannot get insurance.

The escaped convicts manage to make it safely to the other side, Kevin baits "Panther" with a story of getting paid to spring him out of jail, "Panther" falls for it and then offers him WAAAY more than Kevin's original offer if he will escort him back to Hong Kong. Because this is all part of the "Supercop" master plan, Kevin agrees and the two head off to a super secret hideout... in the middle of a village... in raincoats. (Wait, where did these raincoats come from??? Hrrrmmm...)

Upon arrival, Panther is welcomed in and Kevin gets a gun to the face, which he quickly procures with a punch and twist. (He makes it look so easy!) And, we are suddenly "introduced" to Panther's gang of 6-7 men. Immediately he starts interrogating his men as to who sold him out. And, within mere seconds he shoots the guy in the blue windbreaker... and to be honest he had it coming. He'd have stood out like a sore thumb and busted them all with his clown-like fashion sense and bad hair. So, BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD... and the gang all decides to head off to Kevin's supposed home town of WuHan (sp) to hide out with his family.


Do you remember us telling you that Kevin sort of blew it with memorizing the details of his secret identity? Yeah... right about now would be a good time for him to be familiar with those details. Especially helpful as the men all arrive in WuHan and ask for directions to his house, of which he cannot provide and is beginning to look suspicious. THANK GOD that kid that Chief Yang sent arrived to bail him out!!! He leads the men to a rice paddy, and "Auntie" takes all the men to Kevin's house where they are greeted by his "mother", as played by Inspector Wong. Then his "sister", as played by Chief Yang, comes in. There is a ridiculous scene regarding the costumed Inspector Wong, Chief Yang, Panther, some money, and his gang that plays out and results in them escaping the house and eating "roast cat" in a local restaurant. 

Now, while out at the local restaurant some new police recruits get suspicious and think that they recognize Panther and his gang. How? I'm not entirely sure as the internet wasn't really in full swing in Communist China, and I doubt they had fax lines in the village of WuHan... but we may just be speculating here.

Either way, Chief Yang tries to diffuse the situation with her credentials, but without her badge she has no proof and a ruckus ensues. A RUCKUS I TELL YOU!!! With the punching, and flying chairs, and flipping people, and a sweet Michelle Yeoh style beat down... and Kevin throwing a can of chopsticks. Yes. The most powerful fists in 1990's Kung fu throwing a can of chopsticks like a sissy. The comedic style literally caused me (Kelly) to snort out loud despite the fact that I've seen this movie 10+ times. It's the classics that really get me... (wipes away a tear)

The whole thing ends with a fake Police shooting and a crazy rooftop escape scene resulting in both Kevin and "Hannah" (Michelle's Yeoh's alter ego) joining forces with Panther and heading off to Hong Kong via a totally crazy boat chase.

Suddenly, we arrive to a swank pool party via helicopter (where does one hail a helicopter in rural China??), only to find senior bad-guy crime boss indoors, missing the party, and playing Tetris on the original NES... which brings about an eruption of commentary from The Mavens. But this blog is about movies and not video game system inaccuracies.

Uhhh... crap.

Wanting to test Kevin and his "sister-Hannah", Senior Bad-Guy tells his lackies to shoot them. But, Kevin isn't fooled. He disables his lackie invader, makes a bold statement about the B.S. surrounding the whole situation, and then storms out. When questioned, he tells "Hannah" that the gun wasn't loaded. Of course, this show of out-right balls-ery gets him into the close and personal good graces of Senior Tetris Playing Bad-Guy.

So, of course this whole "thing" is about drugs. Isn't that what these movies are always about? It turns out Senior Bad-Guy (henceforth SBG) is deep in debt to a team of fellow drug lords and can't pay them because his wife is incarcerated in Malaysia and is the only one who knows the codes to their Swiss bank account for Mr. Boss Man to access the money.

Got all that? 

When expected to show up at a "business meeting" in Thailand with said drug lords, SBG straps "Hannah" with a kevlar vest that secretly contains dynamite and then posts Kevin and a few lackies outside for cover, and heads inside. Things obviously don't go well when he says he doesn't have the money, the situation quickly escalates, and things start exploding. And by exploding, we mean bazookas, dynamite, gunfire, mass chaos, crotch-kicking... and I'm pretty sure we saw the same guard tower explode twice. And it still manages to be funny, because it IS Jackie Chan after all. The good stuff starts at 0:30.

Once all the explodey bits are done, SBG tells the Phillipino leader of the drug lords (PhSBG) that he will buy all of the heroine... once he gets his money out of Switzerland. And PhSBG doesn't have much option but to accept the offer, as there are about a million tons of firepower pointed at his head... and all of his other buyers are dead. Kevin and "Hannah" are a little irritated about being used as human shields/bombs/etc, but are kind of stuck with their situation as well, and so everyone gets onto a helicopter and flies off to go figure out SBG's banking issues.

Boy, we wish someone would get on a helicopter and figure out OUR banking issues. A helicopter isn't even really required. Someone please just explain this crap to us. 

Ok. So, in the meantime, SBG's wife is hanging out in prison, waiting for her death sentence, refusing to give anyone but her husband the code for the bank accounts. With this in mind, SBG loads everyone on a plane a ships them off to Malaysia to stake-out the courthouse for what will be an epic attempt to spring her out of there, because he loves her so dearly. And, you know... those Swiss bank codes.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... Banana Chan!

So everyone's been magically transferred via scene change to Malaysia, where Kevin is for some reason hanging out at a resort hotel waiting for the action to unfold. Unbeknownst to Kevin, his girlfriend is chilling at the same hotel spending some quality time with her besties. Now... I'm all for comedy bits in my kung fu flicks, especially when Jackie Chan is involved, but if there's one thing that annoys me (MJ)... it's ironic humor. So I'll spare us all the gory details and just say that Kevin and May run into one another, giant misunderstanding ensues, and when Kevin does finally manage to pull May aside and explain, she 2 minutes later completely blows his cover to the already suspicious Panther AND manages to get herself kidnapped to boot.

Annoying bit out of the way. Let's get to some action.

So then Kevin, inexplicably dressed in a bright yellow track suit, is forced (along with Michelle Yeoh) to risk life and limb to rescue Mrs. SBG. They succeed, and try to trade her for May (also dressed in a bewildering fashion, wearing much nicer clothes than those she was kidnapped in...), who is flown down via helicopter to about 15 feet above the ground and pushed, distracting Kevin so Mrs. SBG can jump into a passing van and flee.

They took her and outfitted her in a blazer that matches her shoes?
Now, I personally would give up at this point and go home. You got May back, she's wearing better clothes, this whole ordeal has been a giant pain in the ass at this point, AAAAAaaaand they've got you dressed like a banana... but I guess you started a mission and you have to finish it, right? Right, because you're Jackie Chan. Ok, I'm with you. So how do you make it worth your while? Well, that's obvious. You ensure that you are able to steal an adorable tiny red convertible as your pursuit vehicle.

Ok, final giant action sequence summary!

(strap yourselves in for this)

  • Michelle Yeoh hangs off a giant moving vehicle.
  • Jackie and Michelle run up an incredible number of stairs.
  • Helicopter. Yeah, we don't know why that's necessary...
  • ...Except that at some point Jackie Chan hangs off a rope ladder attached to said helicopter as he is dragged across the city, which is pretty badass, and wouldn't be possible if the unnecessary helicopter weren't included.
  • The landing of said helicopter AND a dirt bike jump onto a moving train.
  • And more 'splosions and stuff that cause Jackie Chan's insurance agent to wet himself with worry.

So, the moral of this tale?

Don't lie to your girlfriend about what you do for work, because she will find out while out with her friends and will blow your cover, resulting in a fate worse than getting fired, that will probably in some way involve a helicopter and a 90's chic banana yellow tracksuit.

So don't lie to your girlfriend.

Watch this movie instead.

~The Mavens

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