Extreme Crisis (1998) Movie Review

Movies like “Extreme Crisis” have inspired me to create a new terminology. I’m going to call it Because the Script Says So, or BSSS. In short, BSSS means this: movies have situations or characters that makes absolutely no sense, and these anomalies can appear at just about any time in the movie, simply because at that particular moment the script requires it to happen in order to justify what’s about to happen next. And thus, it’s there Because the Script Says So.

While watching “Extreme Crisis”, certain questions may pop into your head, such as: Why are the cops so stupid? Or, why did the terrorists blow up that hotel? Then those of you intent on making sense of “Crisis” might even come up with this whopper: Why are the cops, with terrorists running around town blowing up everything in sight, so desperate to arrest one of their own, who has done nothing illegal? I’m not exaggerating the least bit when I say that “Extreme Crisis” is an extremely bad film. (Ha ha, I’m so clever.)

The film stars Julian Cheung (“Martial Angels”) as headstrong cop Ken Cheung (Gee, how creative, they just used the guy’s real last name). After Cheung’s mentor is shot dead by Japanese cultists intent on blackmailing the Hong Kong police into releasing their recently captured leader, Cheung goes on a one-man crusade. Well actually he has help in Japanese cop Takami (Kenya Sawada), whose own men were shot dead by the cult in Japan. Armed with nothing more than guts and the combined intelligence of a squirrel, our fearless duo sets about to save the world! Well, at least Hong Kong.

Talking about “Crisis” is a bore, so I’ll just list some more BSSS moments: While searching for a clue to the terrorists’ whereabouts, Cheung and Takami are told by a Japanese associate, off the top of her head, that there’s a Japanese chemist in town. I guess this chemist must also be the only chemist in all of Hong Kong because the terrorists have also kidnapped him to produce the sarin gas that they plan to use if their demands aren’t met! Later, Cheung and Takami aren’t sure where to re-locate the terrorists (they keep losing them because, you know, BSSS). So how do they re-acquire the terrorists? Well, they go driving, and just decide to stop at a conveniently empty school (it’s a holiday, Cheung remarks) where the terrorists are cooking their sarin gas!

It’s hard to relate how bad “Crisis” is. The funny thing is, director Bruce Law has all the resources to make a good — or at least decent — action movie. The budget is very high, the movie is slick and polished, and most of all, he has Qi Shu. But alas, “Crisis” is a work of pure cheese, a film of few merits. Not only does Law fail to capitalize on resources that would make his fellow Hong Kong filmmakers drool, but the man indulge in child endangerment more than once. Not content to show a truck nearly running over school kids crossing a street, we also get a kid getting shot at and, perhaps just for fun, getting killed. Gee, thanks, Bruce!

About halfway in, the movie inexplicably becomes a bad “Die Hard” clone, with the terrorists taking over the TV station that Cheung’s girlfriend, Qi Shu, works at. The lovely Miss Shu is forced to broadcast the terrorists’ messages as Cheung and Takami infiltrate the place with the bumbling (and seemingly even dumber, if that’s possible) Inspector Ching (Teresa Lee). No, don’t ask how they infiltrate the place. Or how Ching ended up there before them. Just repeat after me: Because the Script Says So.

The best thing about “Crisis” is the Japanese actor playing Lone, the cultists’ second-in-command. Lone has a strange habit of being really appreciative and even sincerely apologetic as he goes about shooting people and blowing things up. He may be a homicidal maniac, but at least he’s got really good manners!

And oh yeah, a lot of things blow up real good. That was nice.

Bruce Law (director) / Laura Wu (screenplay)
CAST: Julian Cheung …. Ken Cheung
Teresa Lee …. Inspector Ching
Kenya Sawada …. Takami
Qi Shu …. Anita Lee


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